With Electronic Arts and Take Two Interactive, Activision Blizzard belongs to the flagship of American video game publishing. Nonetheless, the need to keep adding a few more microtransactions to his titles while making DLC mandatory has given him a bad rap. Worse, it would not be easy to work there, as evidenced by a new complaint on July 20.
a complaint denouncing the company’s toxic culture
This Tuesday, July 20, the California Department for Fair Employment and Housing, which prosecutes “illegal discrimination in employment, housing, business and government-funded programs, and prejudice and human trafficking-motivated violence,” filed a complaint against Activision Blizzard to denounce “constant sexual harassment, including touching, commenting, and advances that are associated with” a specific “corporate culture”.
A complaint that “women are the subject of numerous comments and advances of a sexual nature, unwanted touch and physical contact, and other forms of harassment”. In addition, it is written that female employees on the dedicated World of Warcraft team discovered that male employees, including their supervisors, beat them up at work, made derogatory comments about the rape, and behaved in general humiliating manner.
A former technical director is particularly accused of having “touched drunk employees at company events” and “making decisions in connection with the hiring” based on the stature of the candidate color, who would be “particularly vulnerable targets”. One African American employee testified that her supervisor asked her in particular to write a summary of what she did while she was on vacation, a request that is not addressed to any other employee.
In addition, women are promoted less often, the latter are offered more to their male colleagues, despite “less experience and qualifications, but friendship with the manager”. Among the examples given to criticize this toxic environment, the lawsuit highlights the suicide of an employee who would be linked to corporate harassment. A connection that the publisher would like to rule out: “We are disgusted by the reprehensible behavior of the DFEH, which connects the lawsuit with the tragic suicide of an employee whose death is unrelated to this case and regardless of her grieving family. “
According to the complaint, complaints from employees referred to Human Resources went unanswered, even when addressed to J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard. Worse still, complaints were “treated superficially and dismissively, not confidential,” resulting in employees “being retaliated, including but not limited to being selected for layoffs privately”. Issues related to the recent Solidaires complaint Informatique, which denounced institutional sexual harassment within Ubisoft, while the French publisher was targeted by complaints from several women in the summer of 2020, particularly allegations of harassment against corporate executives.
According to Activision Blizzard, the complaint would contain “skewed and, in many cases, incorrect descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” Especially since the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing “is required by law to do reasonable research and talk to us in good faith to better understand and resolve any claim or concern before going to court, but you.” didn’t. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we’ll show in court. ” A spokesperson concluded: “In recent years and since the first investigation began, we have changed the corporate culture significantly to reflect greater diversity in our leadership teams.”