Reported by The Verge today, Activision Blizzard is being hit with another National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) violation complaint. This time, Activision Blizzard is accused of threatening employees for discussing wages and working conditions within the last six months, violating the employees’ legally protected rights to do so. Allegedly, workers at Activision Blizzard were threatened for specifically discussing the California sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard on Slack, a messaging app for business workers. Within the NLRB complaint, the Communications Workers of America union filed these violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) against Activision Blizzard:
- 8(a)(1)—Interference with Section 7 Rights (The Rights of Employees)
- 8(a)(2)—Domination or Illegal Assistance and Support of a Labor Organization
- 8(a)(3)—Discrimination Against [Organizing] Employees
- 8(a)(4)—Discrimination for NLRB Activity
Filed yesterday, this marks the second time the CWA has brought an NLRB complaint against Activision Blizzard. In September of 2021, the CWA filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against Activision Blizzard for allegations of “worker intimidation and union-busting.” According to the CWA, in response to Activision Blizzard employees forming a workers union to demand a work environment without “abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment,” Activision Blizzard’s management allegedly responded with “surveillance, intimidation, and hiring notorious union busters.” Despite this, the NLRB charges were withdrawn over a “technicality” and would be allegedly refiled in the future, as reported by Axios after discussing with a union rep.
Even with these NLRB charges against Activision Blizzard, the potential consequences are largely minimal. If Activision Blizzard is found in violation of the NLRA, the company would be issued cease-and-desist orders to prevent future violations. Furthermore, if Activision Blizzard unlawfully terminated an employee, that employee would be reinstated and “made whole” for damages, such as: wages lost, wages if an employee looks for a different job, compensation for loss of a home or car, compensation for damages caused to an employee’s credit rating, penalties incurred from withdrawing money from retirement accounts or other accounts, and interest fees on credit card charges. While this may cost a few thousand per employee terminated, the NLRB does not currently have the authority to issue monetary fines nor individual liability. If the Build Back Better Act passes in the US Senate, the PRO Act attached would allow the NLRB to be able to issue fines ranging from $50,000-100,000 per penalty and charge specific individuals for violating the NLRA. Until then, companies mostly receive slaps on the wrist as long as employees are not unlawfully terminated.