The French union Solidaires Informatique has formally launched a complaint against Ubisoft and several of its key execs. Named figures include CEO Yves Guillemot and former chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, as well as Ubisoft as a whole.
What's in the Solidaires Informatique Ubisoft complaint?
The complaint was filed at the Bobigny criminal court yesterday (note: link is in French and we're using machine translation) by lawyer Maude Beckers. Said complaint was originally announced last year and represents several plaintiffs who were the victims of harassment at Ubisoft. It names several key executives at the company, some of whom are still in their positions. The complaint names those guilty of harassment as Tommy François, Serge Hascoët, and Hascoët's unnamed assistant. According to the complaint, these individuals took advantage of their positions to "harass multiple people". The complaint also alleges that Ubisoft's HR department, former HR exec Cécile Cornet, and CEO Yves Guillemot knew about these issues and did nothing to address them, thereby allowing harassment to "flourish" within the company.
Solidaires Informatique's complaint also targets Ubisoft as a complete entity for "institutional sexual harassment". The complaint alleges that Ubisoft allowed the harassment to continue because it was more profitable for the company to allow the perpetrators to remain in their positions than to deal with the problem. Harassment was routinely practiced by the upper echelons of the company and protected by the HR department, creating what the union calls a "company-wide system". Solidaires Informatique is calling for anyone else who's been affected by this issue to email them and join the complaint. You don't need to be unionized and you won't need to worry about legal costs, as the union says it will cover them.
What's the background to this Solidaires Informatique complaint?
Last year, it emerged that several top executives had departed Ubisoft over allegations surrounding sexual harassment. These executives included the aforementioned Hascoët and Cornet, as well as former MD Yannis Mallat. The departures took place shortly after a damning report by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier alleging that Hascoët and several other execs had intentionally blocked the inclusion of female protagonists in the Assassin's Creed series. Following these departures, Solidaires Informatique announced its intent to pursue legal action against Ubisoft, stating that individuals who perpetrated and protected Ubisoft's toxic work culture remained at the company.
Unfortunately, it seems that the wave of publicity surrounding those departures and the subsequent exposure of what seems to be a toxic work culture at Ubisoft weren't enough. Earlier this year, French publication Le Télégramme reported that Ubisoft's work culture hadn't changed much, with internal staff saying they didn't expect changes made by the company (and highlighted by CEO Yves Guillemot) to have much of an impact. It's also been reported that Ubisoft's bonus targeting better gender diversity within the company's higher management roles has been replaced by one aiming to reduce the company's carbon footprint. Looks like this issue is going to run and run, so stay tuned for more on this one.