Activision Blizzard again accused of threatening employees for speaking out

Activision Blizzard is facing another complaint to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that it’s trying to keep employees from talking about their working conditions, despite their legally protected rights to do so. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has filed an unfair labor charge against the company, alleging that it told workers “they could not discuss issues related to the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed by state of California against the company,” according to a press release from the union.

According to the complaint, an employee was threatened by a manager after posting an article about the lawsuit in Slack and discussing holding Activision Blizzard accountable with other co-workers. According to former Blizzard senior test analyst Jessica Gonzalez, who is cited in CWA’s press release, the company has a “pattern of retaliation against workers who speak out,” which has only gotten stronger as the company faces further legal challenges and complaints.

In July, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company, saying that female employees faced “constant sexual harassment” from co-workers and managers and that they were discriminated against when it came to promotions. There’s since been a flurry of settlements, other lawsuits, employee action, and shakeups at the company — along with a scandal after California Governor Gavin Newsom was accused of meddling with the state’s suit. But these are things that employees should be able to discuss with each other, as they can have very real impacts on both their work and personal lives.

This isn’t the first time the CWA has made claims about Activision Blizzard flaunting employee rights. In September 2021, the union announced that it was filing charges with the NLRB, alleging that the company intimidated its workers and was engaged in union busting. According to the complaint, workers were not only told they couldn’t discuss their conditions but also were surveilled and interrogated about their organizing activity.

Activision Blizzard didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

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