Bobby Kotick (Activision Blizzard’s boss) has spoken out again following the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing suit alleging discrimination and sexual harassment at Blizzard.
Kotick addressed investors at Activision Blizzard’s Q2 2021 results conference this evening. He stated, “I want you to know that we won’t tolerate any discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment in any part of our company.” There is no place.
We are so grateful to all of our employees, current and past. I would like to thank you for your courage in the face of adversity. We will never tolerate discrimination, harassment or unjust treatment in our work environments. This company will set the standard for our industry.
Kotick said, “Each individual brings immense industry experience and great integrity to their respective roles.” These are the best examples of character leadership and accountability. This team is going to ensure Blizzard has a safe, welcoming environment that fosters creativity and inspires.
Kotick said that they will continue to investigate every complaint and claim we get. We will be taking decisive actions when we discover any shortcomings. To strengthen our abilities in this field, we’ll also be hiring additional personnel and resources. Individuals will be accountable for what they do.
This commitment is that we won’t just fire employees when necessary, but also any leader or manager who hinders our process for reviewing claims and inflicting the appropriate consequences.
We made the commitment that we would consider all qualified candidates to fill open positions. This is because our work can’t be done without different perspectives, voices and talents.
Over the last several years we have made substantial changes to improve company culture and reflect greater diversity in our leadership teams. We also created environments that encourage reporting misconduct. Internal programmes have been strengthened to encourage employees to report misconduct. We also provide channels that allow employees to express concerns confidentially and safely without fear of reprisal. Additional resources are being directed to the compliance and employee relations departments that investigate complaints.
We are proud to pay our employees fairly and competitively for comparable work. Our compensation policy is constantly reviewed to make sure that it remains fair. To ensure pay is not driven by discriminatory factors like performance, expertise, or role, we take several proactive measures. We also provide extensive anti-discrimination education for employees who are involved in compensation.
My priority is to ensure that our workplace initiatives continue to be successful. Safety at work remains our top priority. As we look into our return-towork programs, we continue to be focused on providing excellent healthcare for employees and their families.
Kotick stated, “You have my undying commitment that we will focus on serving players and delivering sustainable growth as you’ve come to anticipate.”
These sentiments were reiterated throughout the carefully scripted earnings conference. Chief financial officer Armin Zerza stated that “Our priority is to ensure a workplace which provides opportunities for all… We couldn’t be more dedicated to ensuring an inclusive working environment for all of our employees and for long-term sustainability growth. Together, we’ll work to make our company the most inclusive and empowering entertainment company.
President and COO Daniel Alegre reiterated that he and his leadership team would do everything possible to ensure that the workplace is inclusive and that all employees have opportunities for creativity and personal growth. Our company will not tolerate harassment or unjust treatment of any type.
Alegre then described some of the actions the company was taking to address employee concerns. He stated, “We will…be adding staff to the compliance and employee relationships teams and investigating employee concerns…to ensure that we are always considering diverse candidates [and] to evaluate and train our people managers so they comply with our policies and take the correct action.
Alegre highlighted Activision’s hiring of an outside firm to review its policies and procedures regarding the workplace. This controversial decision has been widely criticised. WilmerHale is a law firm that had a relationship with Activision. It makes it difficult to be impartial.
Jen Oneale, the new Blizzard Co-Lead – Jen Oneale was the only executive to speak directly on the subject. She said, “There is nothing more important than my people. And Mike Ybarra and I, who are partnering to run Blizzard together, feel exactly the same.” We make the most amazing games together, and now we are seeing the same energy in our culture. We still have a lot to do, but there is passion, productivity, and people who feel supported and safe will be able to make the game great.
Tonight’s call seemed to be a shift in tone from the aggressive, widely criticized tone Activision Blizzard took when the news about the lawsuit broke. Fran Townsend, the chief compliance officer at Activision Blizzard called the legal action “truly irresponsible and meritless” in an email to all staff. This was part of a first response Kotick called “tone deaf”.
Kotick’s executive team failed to respond to the majority of the demands of workers before last week’s strike action. This saw over 500 workers leave and hundreds more take part virtually all around the globe, according to organizers.
In a letter sent to Kotick by the ABK Workers Alliance, they reiterated these demands. IGN shared their correspondence. “We have communicated a set of four demands aimed towards protecting our most vulnerable employees. They include (1) the end of forced arbitration in employment contracts, (2) inclusive recruiting and hiring practices, (3) increased pay transparency through compensation metrics and (4) an audit to ABK practices and policies to be done by a neutral party. We also demanded that the third-party be chosen by an employee-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce.
You wrote to your employees in response to our requests. It stated that you would do a better job listening and that it was your intention to respond to all of them. Your promise to do all you can to help employees improve their workplace was a sign of your commitment. Yet, your solutions in the letter didn’t address our needs. Our request for an end of mandatory arbitration was ignored. You didn’t commit to inclusive hiring and recruitment practices. Pay transparency was not an issue.
Your decision to employ WilmerHale for an internal review was ostensibly a response to one of our demands: a third party audit of ABK policies and practices. Although we support the concept of an independent firm performing an internal review, the ABK Workers Alliance does not agree with WilmerHale’s selection as an impartial reviewer.
The letter concluded that “we call upon you and your executive management team to improve” and to address all of our demands. Our cause will not be abandoned. Our numbers continue to increase across Activision Blizzard studios…We are doing our best, but we need your help to make it happen.
Publiated at Wed, 4 Aug 2021 02:02:04 +0000