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News - July 28, 2021

Blizzard To Extend Paid Time Off To Employees Participating In Walkout

In response to the announcement that employees at Activision Blizzard Entertainment’s Irvine offices will participate in a company-wide walkout on Wednesday, July 28, a source with Blizzard has confirmed that the video game publisher is extending paid time off to those participating in Wednesday’s walkout.

In documents obtained by L.A. Weekly, a Blizzard employee that opted to remain anonymous to protect their identity explained through text messages that this could be a sign that the company could be willing to meet the demands of employees calling for more workplace equality, which was published on Tuesday, July 27.

“A strong signal they intend to work with us,” the Blizzard employee said via text message on Tuesday, July 27.

L.A. Weekly was also able to confirm that an internal email from a Blizzard Entertainment executive did give the approval for all employees to attend without fear.

On Tuesday, July 27,  after the news of the walkout broke, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick released a statement to investors and employees, according to Wowhead.

In Kotick’s letter, the CEO issued a statement calling the company’s first response to the legal issues, “tone deaf.”

“I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage.

Every voice matters – and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.

Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.”

As Kotick’s statement continues, he included five points of  “long-lasting change” within the video game publishing giant’s workplace.

“1. Employee Support. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.

2 Listening Sessions. We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.

3. Personnel Changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.

4. Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.

5. In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.”

Currently, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is suing Activision Blizzard after an investigation found a workplace culture of harassment and “inappropriate behavior.

The Santa Monica-based video game company, which is known for popular games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, was investigated by the DFEH for two years where it concluded the Blizzard workplace was a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women,” according to a Bloomberg Law report.

Blizzard Entertainment has not responded to a request for comment.

This is a developing story.

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