Activision Blizzard employees are planning a walkout from their workplace on Wednesday to protest Activision Blizzard's discrimination against female workers and their blanket denial response to the recently filed gender discrimination lawsuit, according to a report from Nicole Carpenter of Polygon.
Over 2600 employees signed an open letter to their leadership on Monday protesting the companies response, calling it "insulting" and "abhorrent." Tomorrow's work stoppage is meant to draw attention to and show the widespread support for their petition to leadership and to demand four specific changes designed to address the sexist culture that the lawsuit is pointing to.
The protesters are making the following demands upon the company:
- End mandatory arbitration clauses in employee contracts, which are widely believed to protect companies and not employees
- Institute hiring practices that improve representation and equity for women, people of color, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups
- Publicly publish compensation data, promotion rates, and salary ranges for employees in the company
- Creat of diversity, equity, an inclusion task force from a third party to audit the HR department, executive staff, and the company reporting structure.
Organizers of the protest told Polygon the following statement:
"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."
The in-person protest is set to take place at the Blizzard Campus main gate in Irvine, California. Online workers who want to participate will also stop working and use #ActiBlizzWalkout. Organizers are also encouraging workers from across the gaming industry to support the protest using the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.