Amid Lawsuit, Activision Blizzard Devs File NLRB Complaint

Overwatch heroes poise right before launching into battle.

Image: Blizzard

Activision Blizzard workers represented by the ABetterABK employee group filed a lawsuit in opposition to the Call of Duty writer with the National Labor Review Board yesterday accusing it of union busting. It comes within the wake of a bombshell California lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination on the firm.

“Activision Blizzard management is using coercive tactics to attempt to prevent its employees from exercising their rights to stand together and demand a more equitable, sustainable, and diverse workplace,” the CODE-CWA (Campaign to Organize Digital Employees), which has partnered with ABetterABK for the lawsuit, wrote in a press release today.

“If the NLRB rules in our favor, the ruling will be retroactive and we will set a precedent that no worker in the U.S. can be intimidated out of talking about forced arbitration,” the group wrote on Twitter.

According to the grievance, Activision Blizzard instructed workers “they cannot communicate with or discuss ongoing investigations of wages, hours and working conditions,” and has leveraged its social media insurance policies, “surveillance,” and worker “interrogations,” to try to punish workers for participating in employee exercise that’s protected beneath federal regulation.

“We think since they’re being so outspoken, leadership is trying to get rid of them,” one present worker told Vice’s Waypoint. They stated this has contributed to some workers going silent or leaving the corporate altogether. “We’ve seen retaliation already, so I’m scared,” they instructed Waypoint.

Activision Blizzard didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

People holding up pro-worker signs outside of Blizzard's main office.

Activision Blizzard workers held a walkout at Blizzard’s Irvine campus to protest inequities on July 28, 2021.
Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)

A lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July accused Activision Blizzard of “frat boy” office tradition that might function a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women,” together with unequal pay and “unwanted sexual comments and advances.” The fallout from that lawsuit, which the corporate stated mischaracterized some previous occasions and was not reflective of its present office tradition, led present and former workers to signal an open letter and launch an one-day walkout condemning the corporate’s response.

It additionally resulted within the formation of ABetterABK, a employee group on behalf of Activision, Blizzard, and King workers, which has since known as on administration to make several changes together with rising pay transparency, enhancing numerous hiring practices, and ending compelled arbitration. Seven weeks later, Activision Blizzard administration, led by CEO Bobby Kotick, nonetheless hasn’t acknowledged the group’s calls for.

The firm has but to answer the California lawsuit’s claims in courtroom, and within the meantime has employed the companies of regulation agency WilmerHale—which amongst different issues makes a speciality of serving to companies fight off unionization efforts—to assist overview and reform its HR practices.

ABetterABK has additionally criticized that transfer, saying the agency has a battle of curiosity due to its pre-existing enterprise ties to Activision Blizzard. “We call on you and your executive leadership team to do better, and to fully address our list of demands,” the group stated in a press release final month.

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