In the latest chapter of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit, an internal email shared today lists some new changes to how the company handles discrimination and harassment cases. In addition to taking a pay cut and other changes, CEO Bobby Kotick is ending forced arbitration for discrimination and harassment cases,
In a letter shared on Activision Blizzard's investor relations page, Kotick shared five new changes that the company is making to improve its culture. These changes are being implemented following its legal battle with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which Kotick describes as "a catalyst to sharpen our focus on the ways we can become a company others emulate as a model for workplace excellence and one with an unwavering commitment to its values." As well as taking a more strict harassment policy and hiring more women and non-binary people, Activision Blizzard is ending their policy of forced arbitration for sexual harassment and discrimination cases, a policy the organizers of the walkout wanted Kotick to address. Riot also had a policy of forced arbitration, but it dropped it in 2019 during its own legal struggles. Forced arbitration heavily favors the company instead of providing a fair playing field, making it unpopular among employees.
In addition to these changes, Kotick asked the Board to reduce his pay to "the lowest amount
How does the ABK Workers Alliance feel about these changes?
Following the new about the changes and Kotick's pay cut, the ABK Workers Alliance released four tweets in which they described the increase in diverse hiring and the removal of forced arbitration for cases of sexual harassment and discrimination a "huge win." The Alliance, in a second tweet touching upon Kotick's pay cut, describes the letter as "what happens when we work together to create a better future for game devs in our company." However, the Alliance also takes this opportunity to reiterate their demand that the company audit be done by an unbiased third party, of which they say WilmerHale is not one. WilmerHale, as Kotaku reported, has been known in the past to help companies such as Amazon with anti-union services.
Today was a huge win for ABK Worker's Alliance! Forced arbitration has been removed for cases that deal in sexual harassment and discrimination. The company announced they will raise the number of women and non-binary people it employs by 50% 💙 https://t.co/N6ZGkUIsiA— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) October 28, 2021
All of these changes come before Activision Blizzard will be facing their investors in court on November 2nd.
Updated, 2:39 PM Eastern: We added the response from the ABK Workers Alliance to the news piece.