Activision Blizzard — best known for developing games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch — is currently involved in multiple lawsuits regarding its work environment. The company has come under scrutiny from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing due to multiple allegations against of creating a “frat boy” culture. These allegations have led to the departure of multiple higher-ups within the company and the name change of the DPS Cowboy character in Overwatch.
While this has been going on, Activision Blizzard internally has allegedly not been very supportive of its employees. They are being sued by the employees themselves, as well as the labor union Communications Workers of America, for what they allege are unfair labor practices. The employees and CWA are accusing Activision Blizzard of using intimidation and union busting tactics to prevent the worker’s right to unionize. The CWA shared a statement to the Washington Post in regards to the lawsuit.
In a statement shared with The Washington Post, CWA organizing director Tom Smith said: “Management could have responded with humility and a willingness to take necessary steps to address the horrid conditions some [Activision Blizzard] workers have faced. Instead Activision Blizzard’s response to righteous worker activity was surveillance, intimidation and hiring notorious union busters.”
The employees and the CWA union filed this most recent lawsuit in California with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Activision Blizzard acted coercively to stop unionization using tactics such as surveilling employees, interrogating them, making threats and promising benefits.
This lawsuit comes shortly after Activision Blizzard recently hired the law firm WilmerHale to do an internal investigation. The decision to hire that firm was met with questions because of, as the Post put it, “the firm’s reputation for defending wealthy clients and lack of a track record in uncovering wrongdoing.”