Twelve current and former Activision Blizzard employees formed an anti-discrimination committee and sent a four-page list of demands to management on Tuesday, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The committee sent its demands to the company’s controversial CEO, Bobby Kotick, along with diversity officer Kristen Hines and chief human resources officer, Julie Hodges. Among the demands was the end of forced arbitration in discrimination cases, which Activision Blizzard said it has already ended.
“We appreciate that these employees want to join with us to further build a better Activision Blizzard and continue the progress we have already made,” Activision Blizzard spokesperson Jessica Taylor told The Washington Post. “We have, for example, already upgraded our lactation facilities, waived arbitration, hired new [diversity, equity and inclusion] and [equal employment opportunity] leaders, and collaborated with employees to make our policies and processes more Trans inclusive, just to name a few issues the letter raises.”
The formation of the anti-discrimination committee came one day after employees at Activision Blizzard subsidiary Raven Software won their bid to form a union. In addition, Activision Blizzard is in the midst of a $68.7 billion acquisition by Microsoft.
Happy union day! We won! pic.twitter.com/nzJ4A3J3RB
— Game Workers Alliance 💙#WeAreGWA (@WeAreGWA) May 23, 2022
Activision Blizzard anti-discrimination committee demands
The anti-discrimination committee demanded that lactating Activision Blizzard employees have access to private rooms with secure refrigerators. Jessica Gonzalez, a former Blizzard employee and a member of the committee, publicized issues with the company’s lactation rooms in December. Her claims included that employees had their breast milk stolen and that fridges meant for milk were used to store beer instead.
“I want this committee to be the industry standard for worker protections,” Gonzalez told The Washington Post.
The anti-discrimination committee’s list also included multiple demands intended to improve the experience of transgender employees at Activision Blizzard. Among them was a call for the removal of software that used transgender workers’ pre-transition deadnames.
“Employees who see that we are still using legal names, where not otherwise required by law, can create an HR ticket or otherwise approach an HR team member that they trust,” Taylor told The Washington Post. “Unfortunately some jurisdictions around the world require employers to use legal names. In those cases, when required by law, we do so.”
Activision Blizzard’s corporate culture has been the subject of public scrutiny since it became the subject of a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit in July of 2021. While the company has promised changes, members of the anti-discrimination committee believe more work is necessary.
“My hope in joining the committee is that we don’t let the fervor die down until there is meaningful, long-lasting change,” Blizzard senior motion graphic designer Emily Knief told The Washington Post.
Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.