Activision Blizzard employees have announced plans to stage a walkout on July 28 to protest Blizzard’s “abhorrent and insulting” response to a lawsuit filed by California on July 22. The call for work stoppage and walks of protest came in the form of an open letter with over 3,000 signatures from both current and former employees of the gaming company.
More than 2,600 former and current Activision Blizzard employees have signed an open letter supporting the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, as reported by Polygon. Blizzard rebutted the lawsuit, stating that it includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past, incurring the wrath of its employees, who stated that the company doesn’t speak on their behalf. The number of signatures has since risen to over 3,000 supporters who will walk out of work, both virtually and at the Blizzard campus in Irvine, California.
In their open letter, the employees state that their values aren’t accurately reflected in the words and actions of the company’s leadership and that they don’t trust the leadership to hold abusers accountable for their actions. And they do make a fair point – the Human Resources department at Activision Blizzard is also accountable for neglecting and ignoring any misconduct when it was reported, effectively protecting those responsible for the harassment.
But that’s not the only demand Activision Blizzard’s employees have; the call for work stoppage actually includes four demands that the employees say are required to improve the conditions for all employees of the company, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation. The employees also demand that the company ends all mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts, current, and future. Arbitration clauses are known for protecting the abusers and limiting the ability of victims to legally seek restitution. But the next three demands are especially interesting.
Activision Blizzard employees demand the adoption of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and promotion policies designed to improve employee representation at all levels. The lack of such policies within the company led to the marginalization of certain groups of people based on gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. The protesters also demand that Blizzard makes all data on relative compensations, promotion rates, and salary ranges for all genders and ethnicities in the company public, stating how the current practices led to unfair treatment of the aforementioned groups. The last demand includes hiring a third-party company to audit Activision Blizzard and King Entertainment’s reporting structure, the Human Resources department, and executive staff.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, employees taking part in the walkout will gather at the main gate of the Blizzard campus from 10 am until 2 pm PT on July 28. People working from home are encouraged to participate by stopping work during that time, while many gaming communities encouraged their members to log off of any Activision Blizzard game, including World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, in support of the protest. It’s worth noting that the latter title was also the subject of a recent lawsuit.