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Activision-Blizzard Employees to Stage Walkout to Protest Workplace Harassment

Workers unable to attend were asked to promote via social media.

The Activision-Blizzard workplace harassment saga continues, as employees are planning a walkout tomorrow, July 28, to protest the working conditions at the company.

Representatives of the workers told Kotaku employees will cease working tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific, all to push leadership within the company to improve the workplace culture for women, specifically noting women of color, transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups. While some employees work from home and may not be able to make it, an in-person protest will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pacific at the Blizzard campus in Irvine, California. Those who can’t attend are being asked to stop all work during the day as an act of solidarity, as well as to signal boost on social media with the tag #ActiBlizzWalkout.

“We are encouraging employees to take whatever time off they feel safe to do,” an employee representative told Kotaku in a statement. “Most of us plan to take the full day off (without pay), but we understand some people like contractors and associates, and those who are paid less than they deserve, might not have the ability to do so.”

Kotaku also received a statement of intent, laying out why the employees are staging the walkout and its expectations from the company’s leadership.

Given last week’s statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from Frances Townsend, and the many stories shared by current and former employees of Activision Blizzard since, we believe that our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.

As current Activision Blizzard employees, we are holding a walkout to call on the executive leadership team to work with us on the following demands, in order to improve conditions for employees at the company, especially women, and in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.

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.

All of this follows the publication of a lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard for its workplace culture, which has allowed harassment and sexism to permeate through its workforce. Following this, internal communications from leadership have shown divided messaging about what the company actually thinks is going on. In the fallout since, over 1,000 past and present employees have signed a letter calling for honesty in the company’s public statements about the situation, and for the resignation of Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs Frances Townsend following her internal statement that downplayed the gravity of the issue.

About the Author

Kenneth Shepard

Kenneth is a Staff Writer at Fanbyte. He still periodically cries about the Mass Effect trilogy years after it concluded.