Shackpets | Available on iOS and Google Play Store

Nintendo settles labor complaint over right-to-organize violation allegations

Former game tester Mackenzie Clifton will be paid $26,000 by Nintendo and contracting firm Aston Carter over labor rights violations.

Image via Nintendo

Nintendo of America found itself on the wrong end of a labor complaint in late September when a longtime game tester was reprimanded and then reportedly fired after asking a question about union organization to NoA CEO Doug Bowser. While Nintendo claimed the firing was over a disclosure of confidential information and materials, fired tester Mackenzie Clifton filed a labor complaint over the matter, alleging a violation of workers’ rights. Nintendo of America and its contracting agency Aston Carter have since moved to settle the complaint with Clifton to the tune of $25,000 in back pay plus interest and $1,000 in damages.

The settling of this dispute between Clifton, Nintendo of America, and Aston Carter was reported by Axios on October 13, 2022. This marks the settling of one of two labor complaints against Nintendo in recent months. Mackenzie Clifton alleged that he was fired shortly after being reprimanded by Aston Carter for asking Nintendo of America CEO Doug Bowser a question about unions during an employee meeting. The question was deemed inappropriate and Mackenzie was fired soon after the fact.

Nintendo's original statement regarding Clifton's complaint to the National Labor Relations Board.
Nintendo originally claimed it was unaware of any conversations about unionization, but has since settled with fired game tester Mackenzie Clifton over the matter.
Source: Twitter

Nintendo alleged that Mackenzie Clifton was fired for improper disclosure of confidential information on a public channel. However, the evidence that was cited named no game and Clifton only revealed that there was glitch that caused whatever they were playing to temporarily appear red. Clifton went on to fire a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The settlement of the complaint calls for Nintendo and Aston Carter to pay Clifton $25,000 in wages and interest, as well as $1,000 in damages. It further stipulates that Nintendo and Aston Carter will be required to post a notice regarding workers’ federal rights to organize at the entrance of the Product Testing Department for 60 days, as well as including the notice in an email sent to all employees.

Nintendo of America claims to be “thankful that a resolution was reached” regarding the complaint. The company went on to say it would be focused on “ensuring that our working environment remains welcoming and supportive for all our employees and associates.” And while the company went on to dissuade the sharing of confidential company information and secrets, it did not disclose why Clifton was fired.

For their part, Clifton feels the settlement was a victory for workers’ rights.

“My original goal behind filing the charge was to show my coworkers at NOA what their rights are and what happens when they choose to exercise them,” Clifton told Axios. “In that sense, the terms of this settlement are exactly what I hoped to see.”

As Nintendo moves on from this complaint, it is one of several workplace complaints that have hit the company recently. However, it would at least appear that one right has been wronged and it may push Nintendo of America and its partners to be more cautious in handling of employee conversations about organization.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola