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The Boston Globe

Business

Coakley gets complaints from unpaid 38 Studios workers

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has received complaints from unpaid workers at Curt Schilling’s video game company trying to recoup their back pay, a spokesman has confirmed.

The attorney general’s office said it planned to refer any former employees of Providence-based 38 Studios to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, which has already launched an investigation into the situation.

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Rhode Island could try to obtain back pay for workers, as well as seek additional penalties against the company and corporate officers, though it’s unclear how much money the company has left.

Workers complained they weren’t paid for several weeks in May in both Rhode Island and Maryland. The company, which has been frantically trying to raise additional capital the state of Rhode Island and outside investors to stay afloat, laid off its entire staff of roughly 400 workers on May 24.

The firm could also face liability in Maryland, where 38 Studios bought Big Huge Games in 2009 and had about one-quarter of its workforce.

However, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Division of Labor and Industry said the state hasn’t launched its own investigation into 38 Studios because it hasn’t received any complaints from workers.

“We haven’t received any complaints, and can’t initiate an investigation until we do,” said agency spokeswoman Shannon Davis. She said workers could file complaints via its website.

Significant employers are also legally required under federal law to send workers and states 60 days advance notice of a plant shutdown or major layoff -- something that was not done in this case. But the law also provides exceptions for companies who are concerned that a shutdown notice could disrupt their plans to seek new capital or business, a reason that 38 Studios could cite in this case.

Schilling has so far declined the Globe’s requests for comment on the situation.

Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com.
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