Bungie is being sued by its former HR manager for wrongful termination and retaliation.
According to a new report by IGN, it was revealed that Bungie’s former HR manager Ingrid Alm is suing the company for retaliation and wrongful termination. She alleged that she was let go when she raised a potential case of racial discrimination to her supervisors.
According to Alm in her complaint that she filed earlier this year in the state of Washington, she was hired by Bungie in May 2022 as an HR manager with over a decade of experience. After a few months, she was instructed to investigate the performance of a certain employee. When she sat down to speak with him, he allegedly pointed out that he was the only Black employee on a team of 50 people and expressed that he felt he was being singled out and racially targeted by his supervisor.
Alm shared this information with her supervisor and recommended the employee’s supervisor to have diversity training. She was instead met with hostility and denial. She was told that the individual she recommended already had been in Bungie for a long time and are highly regarded. Her recommendation was denied. Later during a follow-up discussion about the incident, she was told by her supervisor that “she didn’t want to touch those conversations with a ten-foot pole.”
Bungie recommended to terminate the employee’s employment. Alm disagreed, claiming racial bias and in September 2023, she approached Bungie’s director of equity and inclusion Dr. Courtney Benjamin for advice. Benjamin said that terminating Smith would be too risky considering the evidence and advised a written warning instead.
This angered Alm’s supervisor and gave her a written warning over mail. Her supervisor called Benjamin to apologize for approaching her, supposedly telling Benjamin that “she didn’t want her to think that she was a racist.” Later in September 2023, Alm was placed in needs improvement category during a review, despite having execellent reviews from both peers and clients. She was told by her supervisor to look for an “off-ramp” which meant an exit from the job. She later found out that her email and Bungie platform access cut off without explanation. She did not get any explanation from her supervisor despite her several attempts to contact them.
By the end of September 2023, Alm was informed that her resignation was accepted even though she did say she wanted to resign. She wanted to keep her job. She declined to sign a document that states she voluntarily resigned. She sent an email to company chief people officer Holly Barbacovi explaining the situation, but she got no answer.
Bungie either flatly denies almost every part of Alm’s story without explanation or just denies them with the statement, “Bungie lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the allegations. The company is being represented by Mary DePaolo Haddad.
Alm is suing Bungie and asking for recourse in the form of lost past and future wages, damages for emotional distress and attorney fees. A jury trial will happen on January 22, 2024.