Activision Blizzard is current caught in the midst of lawsuit with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DEFH) having recently filed against the company, with allegations of widespread and persistent sexual harassment and discrimination (among other things) having come to light as a result. The company itself has responded in poor fashion, leading to even greater outrage, to the extent that thousands of Activision Blizzard employees recently wrote an open letter to company leadership, criticizing the aforementioned responses and calling for improvements in working conditions.
Following that, as Kotaku reports, a group of employees at Blizzard Entertainment is planning a formal protest in the form of a walkout tomorrow (Wednesday). A protest event called the Activision Blizzard Walkout for Equality will be held tomorrow virtually from 9 AM to 6 PM PT. A live event will be staged at Blizzard’s Irvine campus. More than 50 employees are expected to join, while others will be attending virtually due to COVID-19 considerations.
A statement of intent has also been addressed to Activision Blizzard management by the group organizing the walkout. It states: “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.”
The demands set forth by the organizing group are as follows:
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.