Following the open letter signed by more than 2,600 current and former Activision Blizzard employees in support of the DFEH lawsuit against the company, they’ve announced plans to walk out of work tomorrow – both virtually and at the Blizzard campus in Irvine, California – to protest the executive response to the lawsuit. The group of employees is demanding that leadership end its mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts, create new, inclusive hiring and promotion processes, publish a report regarding salary breakdowns to ensure marginalized groups are fairly compensated, and to hire a third party to audit. Employees will meet Wednesday at the main but will not enter the Blizzard campus due to the current COVID health and security measures. Employees will use the #ActiBlizz Walkout hashtag to participate virtually. The group also encouraged other workers across the video game industry to support the protest. They are also asking supporters to donate to various charities such as Black Girls Code, Futures Without Violence, Girls Who Code, RAINN, Women in Animation, and Women in Games International.
The protest organizers sent a statement to Polygon saying, “We believe that our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.” Current employees at Activision Blizzard are demanding that executives “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 statement of intent reads, “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, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.” The four listed demands are:
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.