On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that 12 Activision Blizzard employees have formed an anti-discrimination committee to combat sex and gender discrimination at the company.
The formation of this committee comes after a year’s worth of controversies at the company and its subsidiaries surrounding toxic workplace culture, sex and gender discrimination, and labor issues. Activision Blizzard only recently settled a federal sexual harassment lawsuit levied against it by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the latest Washington Post report, the employees who came together to form this committee still feel there’s more to be done.
“My hope in joining the committee is that we don’t let the fervor die down until there is meaningful, long-lasting change,” Emily Knief, a senior motion graphic designer at Blizzard, said to The Washington Post. “At the end of the day, I would like to go into work and not have to think about anything but my work. But based on everything that has been happening, even well before it broke through the headlines, it has been taking up a sizable portion of my day, having to think about the inaction of leadership.”
The 12 Activision Blizzard anti-discrimination committee members delivered a list of demands to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, Diversity Officer Kristen Hines, and Chief Human Resources Officer Julie Hodges on Tuesday morning. One of these demands (according to The Washington Post, the document was four pages total) was for workers to be allowed to meet with the equal employment opportunity coordinator – who was appointed as part of the federal sexual harassment settlement – on diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additionally, the anti-discrimination committee demanded Activision Blizzard end undocumented chats with human resources and mandatory arbitration in discrimination cases, restrict retaliation against employees who file disputes, add private lactation rooms to its campuses, and for the institution of independent investigations around discrimination claims.
“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 a statement. “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.”
Taylor also said in the statement that mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and discrimination cases has been waived, as promised by Activision Blizzard last October. Other changes have also been implemented, like new lactation rooms and locks for them. The Activision Blizzard anti-discrimination committee told The Washington Post that employees will be able to provide feedback on these initiatives via polls.