Activision Blizzard has reportedly fired 20 employees since company-wide sexual harassment and discrimination claims were made this summer.
- READ MORE: Sexual harassment claims, lawsuits, and several high profile departures – what’s going on with Activision Blizzard
As reported in the Financial Times, the Call Of Duty and World Of Warcraft publisher sent a letter to staff yesterday (October 19) informing them of the dismissals, while adding that 20 individuals have also been reprimanded.
According to the report, company has also said it will expand its ethics and compliance team, which is hiring 19 full-time roles and tasked with creating a “more accountable workplace”.
Activision Blizzard’s chief compliant officer Frances Townsend declined to name any individuals who have left the company due to disciplinary action, citing legal reasons. She however clarified that they included game developers and supervisors, but no one from the company’s board or senior management team.
“We call it as we see it,” she said. “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.”
It appears the distinction between employees who were fired and employees who were reprimanded were distinguished between what Townsend referred to as “patterns” of misconduct and “one-off instances” that can be rectified with training.
While Townsend said that the vast majority of misconduct occurred offsite at gatherings involving alcohol, she added, “The consequences of it are going to affect the workplace, and so that’s the reason we say we have got to address this.”
These actions however fall short of the demands made by Activision Blizzard employees, who made four demands when they conducted a walkout on July 28 following the harassment lawsuit.
These included: an “end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts”; new company-wide practices for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and promotion to help with diversity; the publication of data on relative compensation, promotion rates, and salary ranges for “all genders and ethnicities”, as well as a third party to audit upper management and HR department.
Townsend however said that further changes are still to come, adding, “[Bobby] Kotick and the Board basically gave me a blank cheque.”
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