Activision Blizzard Could Face Labor Board Action Following Illegal Surveillance Case

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is set to file a complaint against Activision Blizzard following the conclusion of a case filed by the Communication Workers of America (CWA) against the gaming giant. Over the past few years, the company has been accused of abusive conduct towards its employees ranging from harassment allegations to denying Activision employees pay raises. However, the follow-through from CWA’s case against the company may cause a further dent in its already troubling situation.

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Back in July 2022, employees staged a walkout in protest over the overturning of Roe v. Wade as well as to demand labor-neutrality commitment from the company for Activision Blizzard’s numerous union-busting efforts as unionization interests continue to gain momentum. The CWA accuses the company of illegally surveilling its employees “through managers and security.” A second charge in the same filing by the CWA pertains to Activision Blizzard management allegedly threatening to cut off access to internal communication channels as employees were said to be “discussing wages, hours, and working conditions.”

The NLRB has since concluded its investigations over the case filed by CWA and is now looking to file a complaint against Activision Blizzard alleging the company has indeed surveilled its employees and violated labor laws by threatening to shut down internal communication channels. Although, the NLRB also dismissed a charge which alleged the gaming giant violated Section 7 laws by shutting down an internal Slack channel during an all-hands meeting. This dismissed charge refers to a company meeting that was held last summer over issues around employees “discussing wages, hours and working conditions,” where the CWA attributed cutting off access to company communications to a violation of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

Activision Blizzard in its statement has defended its decision to shut down the all-hands chat, claiming that it was done to minimize “toxic employee behavior” and called CWA’s other charges “false claims.” Interestingly, the news from the NLRB comes at a time when unionization efforts are seemingly growing company-wide at Activision Blizzard. Back in December, Blizzard’s Proletariat studio was set to form a union, though its attempts appear to have fallen apart a month later, with the studio pointing the finger at Proletariat CEO.

As of now, it’s unclear what the exact implications will be for Activision Blizzard following NLRB’s update, particularly considering how the company is actively pushing for Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to go through. Microsoft itself has pledged an agreement with the CWA stating that it would remain neutral should Activision workers seek to unionize following the completion of the acquisition. Either way, it will be interesting to see how things pan out for Microsoft as well as Activision Blizzard over the coming months.

Source: IGN

Source: Gamerant

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