ABK Workers Alliance Responds to Activision Blizzard Workplace Changes

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ABK Workers Alliance Responds to Activision Blizzard Workplace Changes

October 28, 2021

By: Brian Renadette

 
 

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.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick

In addition to these changes, Kotick asked the Board to reduce his pay to "the lowest amount California law will allow for people earning a salary, which this year is $62,500." Kotick will also not be earning any bonuses or compensation "until the Board has determined that we have achieved the transformational gender-related goals and other commitments." Back in April, Kotick voluntarily halved his salary to $875,000 due to scrutiny from shareholders and others. It's worth noting that despite these huge cuts, Kotick is still very rich and has earned plenty in bonuses, even when the company was in the process of major layoffs.

 
 

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.

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.

A picture of me, Brian Renadette
Staff Writer

I am a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a major in writing and a minor in gaming. I have a passion for video games and writing. I also enjoy volunteering at my local SPCA by walking the dogs.

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