The senior figure in charge of Human Resources for Blizzard left the company this week amid allegations of widespread employee abuse and failure by the firm to take them seriously. Jesse Meschuk, who was Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources for Blizzard, quietly stepped down this week as pressure increased on the company.
Perhaps overshadowed by the departure of Blizzard President J. Allen Brack, Meschuk’s departure should come as no surprise following reporting from Axios that Blizzard failed to take employees seriously when reporting abuse. Meschuk had been with the company since 2009 and leaves with Blizzard facing perhaps their biggest crisis to date.
Meschuk appears to have deleted his Twitter account earlier this year, just as beleaguered former colleague Fran Townsend chose to do this week after the spotlight fell on her role in downplaying the seriousness of the allegations.
Blizzard mployee told to "suck it up"
The Axios report is damning of Blizzard HR’s role in the ongoing abuse under Brack and predecessor Mike Morhaime, with former Blizzard employee Nicki Broderick stating she approached HR on a number of occasions in her stint at the firm between 2012 and 2019. Broderick alleges that on one occasion she and a manager got into a heated argument during which "he stood over me at my desk and wouldn't let me leave, wouldn't let me reach for my phone,", but when she reported the situation to HR she was informed he had no case to answer as “He didn't touch you."
Broderick also alleges she was told to "suck it up" and accused of acting like a brat by the HR department, both of which are incredibly damning in light of allegations that a female employee took her own life as a result of the harassment and abuse at the company. Rather than being protected, she was encouraged to move departments or work from home, with the high turnover rate in the HR department also cited for making it harder for employees to pursue complaints.
Another former Blizzard employee, Andrew Buczacki, spoke of the lack of paper trail when filing a complaint, that put the onus on the employee to document their own case or see it devolve into a "verbal agreement", which of course means there is no way to prove the existence of abuse at a later date. More worrying is the allegation from a former employee that filing a report was a risk, as "they were going to tell everybody about what you said. Nothing you said was private with HR."