In protest of the working conditions and the company’s response to a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Activision Blizzard employees will stage a walkout on Wednesday, July 28. As reported by Kotaku and other sources, the event has been dubbed the Activision Blizzard Walkout for Equality.
In a statement, company employees once more call out Activision Blizzard’s response to the lawsuit last week. The statement mentions the initial response, in which the company called the allegations “distorted, and in many cases false.” It also specifically mentions the internal email sent by Frances Townsend, a company executive, who wrote that the claims were “old” and “out of context.”
The employees issue demands
Activision Blizzard employees included four demands in the statement. They ask that the company end the “mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts,” as well create and support new policies that “improve representation among employees at all levels.” The entire statement is below:
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.
Signatures are increasing
The announcement follows yesterday’s letter, signed (then) by more than 1,000 employees who condemned Activision Blizzard’s response following the lawsuit. According to Polygon’s sources, that number has more than doubled to over 2,600 current and former employees of the company.
The event will begin early tomorrow at 9 AM PT to 6 PM PT with a virtual walkout, as many employees are still working from home. An in-person walkout will start at 10 AM PT and last until 2 PM PT on Blizzard’s Irvine, California headquarters. Employees who can’t make the in-person walkout will participate using the #ActiBlizzWalkout across social media channels.