Activision Blizzard is under new fire as employees accuse the company of union busting and intimidating the workforce [via IGN].
Under the alias of the ABK Workers Alliance [Activision Blizzard King Workers Alliance], a complaint against the publisher has been filed with the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board]. Backed by the Communication Workers of America, the complaint alleges that the company has attempted to subdue employees in their discussions of the ongoing lawsuit. Allegations include employee surveillance, coercive statements and rulings, and interrogation.
A press release from the CWA furthers these allegations, saying that Activision Blizzard uses ‘coercive tactics to attempt to prevent its employees from exercising their rights to stand together and demand a more equitable, sustainable, and diverse workplace.
‘’It is their right as workers to organize for a work environment free from abuse, discrimination and sexual harassments, and this right is protected by federal labor law,’ the guild adds.
More specifically, Activision Blizzard has reportedly threatened employees to refrain from publicly discussing wages, hours, and working conditions. The company is accused of implementing strict surveillance policies and threatening employees who refuse to comply.
Last month, the Activision Blizzard lawsuit was expanded to represent a larger group of people. In that same report, the company was accused of issuing NDAs [Non Disclosure Agreements] to employees, banning them from discussing the ongoing lawsuit. Allegations also claimed that the company is shredding documents pertinent to the investigation, though the company has denied these claims.
The story so far
This is a new development in the ongoing story of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit. The video game publisher of Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft was sued by the State of California back in July. An investigation concluded that Activision Blizzard fostered a toxic ‘frat boy’ working culture. Women at the company especially are subject to frequent sexual harassment and vastly unequal pay. Transgender employees have also reported experiencing transphobic harrassment with deadnames frequently used to discriminate against them.
The lawsuit caused Blizzard President J. Allen Brack to resign from his position, hours before the company’s quarterly earnings call. Several protests have been staged in the wake of the lawsuit. Employees participated in a mass walkout from the studio in July. Some World of Warcraft players staged sit-ins on some of the game’s most popular servers.
Sledgehammer Games, developer of the upcoming Call of Duty: Vanguard, has stated it’s disdain for the publisher’s actions. ‘On behalf of Sledgehammer Games, and all of the teams supporting Call of Duty Vanguard, harassment of any kind goes against everything we stand for as a studio,’ it said in a recent press preview event.
Elsewhere, the Overwatch character Jesse McCree is set to see his name changed. This is due to his character being named after an Activision Blizzard employee who was recently let go from the studio.
The publisher has made some staffing changes in the wake of the lawsuit. Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal are now co-leaders of the company after Brack’s departure. Jule Hodges, previously Disney Vice President, has recently been hired as the new Chief People Officer. Despite these changes, the ABK Workers Alliance says that the company has still failed to meet their demands.
[Featured Image Credit: Activision Blizzard]