Activision Blizzard employees will be staging a walkout tomorrow in protest of recent harassment allegations brought against the company in a lawsuit by a Californian government agency.
Last week, the California Department of Fair Employement and Housing brought a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard which features a number of accounts from employees who say they were harassed and faced abuse from their colleagues and superiors. The lawsuit was followed by an open letter signed by over 1,000 employees.
"We, the undersigned, agree that the statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from Frances Townsend, are abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for," the letter read. "To put it clearly and unequivocally, our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership."
The allegations in the lawsuit were publicly addressed by Blizzard President J. Allen Brack in an e-mail as reported by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier. That e-mail was followed by another from Activision Blizzard executive Fran Townsend which categorized the allegations as "[presenting] a distorted and untrue picture of our company."
Activision Blizzard Employees List Demands in Advance of Wednesday's Walkout
A group of Activision Blizzard employees have laid out a list of demands in advance of tomorrow's walkout as reported by Kotaku:
1. An end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts, current and future. Arbitration clauses protect abusers and limit the ability of victims to seek restitution.
2. The adoption of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and promotion policies designed to improve representation among employees at all levels, agreed upon by employees in a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion organization. Current practices have led to women, in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups that are vulnerable to gender discrimination not being hired fairly for new roles when compared to men.
3. Publication of data on relative compensation (including equity grants and profit sharing), promotion rates, and salary ranges for employees of all genders and ethnicities at the company. Current practices have led to aforementioned groups not being paid or promoted fairly.
4. Empower a company-wide Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion task force to hire a third party to audit ABK’s reporting structure, HR department, and executive staff. It is imperative to identify how current systems have failed to prevent employee harassment, and to propose new solutions to address these issues.
The Activision Blizzard walkout is scheduled to take place virtually on July 28, 2021, from 9:00 AM–6:00 PM Pacific Time. Approximately 50 employees are expected to protest in-person at Blizzard Entertainment's Irvine headquarters from 10:00 AM–2:00 PM; anyone who cannot attend has been asked to promote the event and its goals in the #ActiBlizzWalkout hashtag on Twitter.