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Video Game Developer Valve Sued for $3.1 Million for Transgender Discrimination

( [email protected] ) May 25, 2016 11:49 AM EDT
Major game developer Valve Corporation that created the popular video game franchises "Counter-Strike" and "Half-Life" is currently facing a lawsuit filed by one of its former employees. Aside from accusing the company of discriminating against her because of her transgender status, the ex-employee also claimed that Valve mistreats some of its staff members.
Logo of Valve Corporation. Wikimedia Commons/Puedo

Major game developer Valve Corporation that created the popular video game franchises "Counter-Strike" and "Half-Life" is currently facing a lawsuit filed by one of its former employees. Aside from accusing the company of discriminating against her because of her transgender status, the ex-employee also claimed that Valve mistreats some of its staff members.

The employee, who was not named, said that she used to work as a translator for the company in Washington. In addition, she also served as Valve's internal liaison for Spanish-speaking law enforcers. 

As detailed in her lawsuit, which Polygon was able to obtain a copy of, the issue between her and her former employer began in 2012 when she wanted to go to Los Angeles for a gender transition. This also means that she will have to work from home. Although the company approved her request, it noted that she will have to change her employment status from full-time to an independent contractor.

This became a problem for the complainant because contractors do not get the same benefits as regular employees do. She then filed a report to Valve's Human Resources for the issues she encountered.

However, after submitting the report, the she said that she was fired by the company. She claimed that her termination was related to her transgender status and the complaint that she made against Human Resources.

"She complained that these unpaid translators, often young minors, were being exploited and lured to work for [Valve] based on false promises made by her supervisor, Torsten Zabka," the lawsuit stated. "Indeed, they would work hours upon hours based on promises that their work could lead to a paid position, but in the end, Torsten Zabka invariably found excuses to renege his promises."

"[Employee] felt so bad for the exploited minors and complained to Human Resources about this issue, and other complaints involving Torsten Zabka creating a hostile work environment and mistreating employees."

The plaintiff also added that during her time with the company, Zabka treated her in a derogatory manner by referring to her as "it." Valve, on the other hand, denied the allegations made by the former employee, according to Kotaku.

Tags : Valve Corporation Lawsuit, Valve Corporation Controversy, Valve Corporation Employee, Valve Corporation Case, transgender issues