Activision Blizzard is facing more lawsuits because of its work practices. As Game Developer reports, Activision Blizzard workers and U.S. communications workers have filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Committee accusing the game developer of using coercion (such as threats) and interrogation. Although the submission did not describe the conduct in detail, a group of ABetterABK employees claimed Activision Blizzard tried to intimidate staff by talking about forced arbitration for disputes.
Companies sometimes include employment clauses that require arbitration instead of lawsuits. Access usually favors businesses because arbitrations are often faster than lawsuits, deny access to group lawsuits, and, most importantly, keep things private. Labor disputes are less likely to reach the public and cause systemic change. Technical companies like Microsoft have ended arbitration for sexual harassment claims precisely to ensure that these disputes are transparent and prevent bullies from going unchecked.
It is not clear how Activision Blizzard intends to react. We asked the company about the complaint. The NLRB has yet to say whether it will take over the case.
The toy giant has taken some action in response to a lawsuit against sexual harassment in California, dismissing three senior designers and President Blizzard after being referred to them. So far, however, there has been no willingness to discuss structural changes. The NLRB’s appeal could increase pressure on reforms and will certainly not help Activision Blizzard’s image.
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 by talking about forced arbitration.
– ABetterABK (@ABetterABK) September 14, 2021
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