Activision Blizzard Reportedly Fired 20 Employees Over Harassment Claims
Activision Blizzard has reportedly fired 20 employees over claims of harassment against the company. After the individuals were fired, the company has reportedly sent out a company-wide letter revealing its actions and stated that it will be expanding its ethics and compliance team to create a “more accountable workplace.” This action comes after multiple investigations into the company’s work culture including one by the state of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
According to a report by Financial Times (via Upcomer), the fired employees belonged to the game development teams or were supervisors, and none of them were from senior management. The names of the fired employees were not revealed.
Former US Homeland Security adviser turned Activision Blizzard chief of compliance, Frances Townsend, told the Financial Times “It doesn’t matter what your rank is, what your job is. If you’ve committed some sort of misconduct or you’re a leader who has tolerated a culture that is not consistent with our values, we’re going to take action. The impact on the business is not a consideration.”
She also stated that distinctions were made between patterns of misconduct and one-off incidents. Activision Blizzard claims that it is trying to re-earn its teams’ trust and make them heard. Townsend revealed to Financial Times that the studio has added 19 full-time roles to its ethics and compliance team.
Activision Blizzard, is being sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), following a two-year investigation. As reported by Bloomberg, the state of California is accusing Activision Blizzard of discriminating against its female employees at virtually all levels of employment, which includes compensation, promotion, assignments, and termination.
Following the lawsuit, Activision CEO J. Allen Brack stepped down from the position of CEO and global human resources executive Jesse Meschuk left the company on the same day as well. Brack was accused in the lawsuit as having known of the alleged workplace abuse. This was cited in the lawsuit and he has been cited as a complicit party.
The actions being taken at Activision Blizzard with regards to the firing of the employees seem to be coming as a response to the lawsuits it is currently facing. The outcome of the lawsuit is yet to be determined and it remains to be seen if the company is able to re-earn its employees’ trust.