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NLRB says Activision Blizzard illegally surveilled employees during a walkout

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Activision Blizzard is facing yet another complaint by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The labor agency has “found merit with several elements of the unfair labor practice charges filed by the Communications Workers of America (CWA)” on behalf of the company’s workers, the union has told Engadget. This particular case pertains to the CWA’s accusations that the game developer illegally surveilled workers when they walked out in July last year to protest the lack of gender equality in the company, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as well as Activision Blizzard’s alleged union-busting practices. 

The NLRB found after an investigation that the company broke labor laws by using managers and security staff to monitor workers during the walkout. In addition, the labor board found merit in the CWA’s accusation that the developer threatened to cut off workers’ access to an internal chatroom where they discussed their pay, hours and overall working conditions. According to IGN, though, NLRB has dismissed one charge regarding the company cutting off people’s chat access to an all-hands meeting. The publication says Activision Blizzard‘s chief administrative officer Brian Bulatao has informed workers that chat was shut down for future all-hands because that particular meeting turned toxic. Attendees used it as a chance to “disparage the work of the Diablo Immoral team and others,” he explained.

An NLRB spokesperson told Reuters that it will move forward and prosecute Blizzard if the company doesn’t settle.

The company’s labor practices were thrust into the spotlight after California filed a lawsuit against it in 2021 for fostering a “frat boy” workplace. After a two-year investigation, the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing had determined that the developer discriminated against female employees. It’s one labor issue after another for Activision Blizzard after that, mostly related to workers’ organizing efforts. To note, the company is also facing another NLRB complaint, accusing it of violating labor laws by implementing an overbroad social media policy that prevented workers from talking about their working conditions and threatening employees who were exercising their right to join a union. Activision Blizzard told Engadget that those allegations were “false.”

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