Activision Blizzard employees form anti-discrimination committee for worker rights

A new staff group within Activision Blizzard has been formed to fight for worker rights.

The Worker Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination has been founded by 12 current and former staff members, including high-profile ABetterABK member Jessica Gonzalez, and has presented a list of demands to embattled boss Bobby Kotick, The Washington Post reported.

Issues raised include improvements to private breastfeeding areas, an end to undocumented meetings with HR, improved support for transgender employees, two weeks extra paid time off for parental leave (up to 12 weeks), and the need for independent investigations into allegations of discrimination.

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The letter to Kotick alleges “breastmilk was being stolen” from company fridges which were not secure. Previously-publicised reports from Activision Blizzard staff included claims of poorly-equipped facilities which male employees had historically used for phone calls or a nap.

The worker group is now calling for lactation rooms which can only be accessed by those actively using them, and to not have to clock out to breastfeed.

“I want this committee to be the industry standard for worker protections,” Gonzalez said. “Even though I am an Activision Blizzard alum, I am still very much involved in organizing Activision Blizzard. Developers have and will continue to benefit from my activism and I can’t imagine not being there for my fellow workers, former or current.”

“We appreciate that these employees want to join with us to further build a better Activision Blizzard and continue the progress we have already made,” Activision Blizzard spokesperson Jessica Taylor said in response.

“We have, for example, already upgraded our lactation facilities, waived arbitration, hired new DEI and EEO leaders, and collaborated with employees to make our policies and processes more trans-inclusive, just to name a few issues the letter raises.”

It’s now nearing a year since Activision Blizzard was hit by its State of California lawsuit last July, which described the publisher as a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women”. Since then, Kotick has been accused of being aware of sexual misconduct within the company “for years”.

This week brought word that a group of 28 QA testers at Activision Blizzard’s Wisconsin-based Raven Software studio had won their vote to unionise – the first in the US to do so. Following that announcement, one team member said the victory meant employees at the beleaguered company would finally be able to “fight for respect, fight for better wages, better benefits, better work-life balance, fight for sustainability and job security, and continue to fight for our fellow workers in solidarity.”

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