Activision Blizzard charged with violating labor laws in union complaint

Activision Blizzard Share
Activision Blizzard Share (Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

What you need to know

  • Activision Blizzard is currently facing a lawsuit alleging sexist workplace practices and abuse.
  • Employees of Activision Blizzard are now filing a suit with the National Labor Relations Board.
  • This new suit accuses Activision Blizzard of spying on employees, interrogating employees and making coercive statements.

Update, Sep. 14 (6:36 pm ET): Windows Central received a copy of the complaint from the ABK workers' collective, who directly accuse Activision Blizzard of using coercion and threats instead of listening to demands.

Activision Blizzard is now being charged with an unfair labor practice suit, ABetterABK confirmed via Twitter. The suit, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, accuses Activision Blizzard of taking actions like surveillance against employees, interrogating employees and making coercive statements.

Activision Blizzard already faces a lawsuit that is alleging multiple issues, including how the company allowed a sexist workplace environment to develop. The company has taken some steps so far, with Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack stepping down. Multiple other high-level Blizzard employees have been removed, including the game director of upcoming action role-playing game Diablo 4.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated that any employees who were found to have "impeded the integrity of our processes" would be removed from the company. Activision Blizzard committed to change during its Q2 2021 earnings call, though employees note that their demands have not yet been met.

Overwatch hero Mcree is also being renamed following the removal of his namesake from Blizzard Entertainment. The Department of Fair Housing and Employment has accused Activision Blizzard of not complying with its investigation, though Activision Blizzard insists it has "complied with every proper request." The initial lawsuit was also expanded to include contract or temporary workers at Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard is one of the largest gaming publishers, with many major franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Diablo in its gaming portfolio.

Update, Sep. 14 (6:36 pm ET) — ABK workers accuse Activision Blizzard of coercion, threats

A copy of the complaint by the ABK workers sent to Windows Central indicates that Activision Blizzard is using coercion and threats instead of responding to worker demands.

"Management could have responded with humility and a willingness to take necessary steps to address the horrid conditions some ABK workers have faced. Instead Activision Blizzard's response to righteous worker activity was surveillance, intimidation, and hiring notorious union busters," stated Tom Smith, national organizing director at the Communications Workers of America. "The National Labor Relations Board under the Biden Administration has made it clear that it will hold companies accountable whenever they break the law; we have filed these charges to ensure that the actions of ABK management will not go unanswered."

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.