Fresh off Raven Software’s QA department officially unionizing, a group of 12 Activision Blizzard employees has formed an internal antidiscrimination committee called the Worker Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination.
The committee is made up of current and former workers at the publisher and its subsidiaries, and has submitted a series of demands to Activision Blizzard leadership, including CEO Bobby Kotick, Diversity Officer Kristen Hines and Chief Human Resources Officer Julie Hodges, according to a report by The Washington Post. The committee’s demands include the end of mandatory arbitration, independent investigations for sexual harassment and discrimination claims, better facilities and privacy for employees who are lactating or breastfeeding, protection for trans employees, 12 weeks of paid parental leave, and protection from retaliation.
“My hope in joining the committee is that we don’t let the fervor die down until there is meaningful, long-lasting change,” Blizzard Senior Motion Graphic Designer Emily Knief, told The Post. “At the end of the day, I would like to go into work and not have to think about anything but my work. But based on everything that has been happening, even well before it broke through the headlines, it has been taking up a sizable portion of my day, having to think about the inaction of leadership.”
In a statement sent to The Post, Activision Blizzard spokesperson Jessica Taylor pointed toward changes within the company following the initial State of California lawsuit against the publisher and its studios for discrimination and harassment within its workplace, such as waiving mandatory arbitration last October.
“We appreciate that these employees want to join with us to further build a better Activision Blizzard and continue the progress we have already made,” Taylor said in the statement. “We have, for example, already upgraded our lactation facilities, waived arbitration, hired new DEI and EEO leaders, and collaborated with employees to make our policies and processes more Trans inclusive, just to name a few issues the letter raises.”
Further reading on Activision Blizzard:
- Activision Clarifies Diversity Tool Not Used In “Active Game Development” After Explaining Use
- Lawyer Alleges California Governor Meddled in Activision-Blizzard Case in Resignation
- Microsoft to Acquire Activision-Blizzard Amidst Ongoing Workplace Culture Scandal
Regarding updating the company’s lactation facilities, the committee is asking for lactation rooms that are private, only usable by people who lactate, and locked by a key or code. The demands also ask for a private place to store breastmilk, and to be compensated during this time rather than having to clock out and miss out on pay during their shifts. As far as demands regarding trans employees go, the list of demands asks for the creation of a trans network similar to a women’s network already found within the company. The demands also ask to wipe employee deadnames from the software tools, which Taylor says some law requirements have prohibited.
“Employees who see that we are still using legal names, where not otherwise required by law, can create an HR ticket or otherwise approach an HR team member that they trust,” Taylor said to The Post. “Unfortunately some jurisdictions around the world require employers to use legal names. In those cases, when required by law, we do so.”
Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision Blizzard employee who now works as a campaign organizer at the Communications Workers of America, is part of the committee. Despite leaving the company in December, she continues to work with current employees through CWA, and wants the Worker Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination to serve as a goalpost for other organizing workers.
“I want this committee to be the industry standard for worker protections,” Gonzalez told The Post. “Even though I am an Activision Blizzard alum, I am still very much involved in organizing Activision Blizzard. Developers have and will continue to benefit from my activism and I can’t imagine not being there for my fellow workers, former or current.”