Federal labor prosecutors in California plan to file a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for unlawfully threatening workers if the company does not agree to a settlement, according to National Labor Relations Board spokeswoman Kayla Blado.
The NLRB found charges brought against the company by the Communications Workers of America union in November 2021 to be founded, according to Blado. The initial charge from CWA attorneys alleged that Activision Blizzard attempted to prevent employees from discussing wages, hours and working conditions and also attempted to control their social media communications, both of which could violate labor laws.
The company has been hit with other labor complaints from CWA attorneys, including an April 2022 filing that also claimed the company threatened workers who spoke publicly about protected matters.
“These allegations are false. Employees can and do speak freely about these issues in the workplace without retaliation, and our social media policy expressly incorporates employee NLRA rights,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson wrote in an email to Protocol.” Our Social Media Policy explicitly states that it “does not restrict employees from engaging in the communication of information protected by law, including, for example, the rights of employees in the United States protected by national labor relations law.'” The company also said it had not yet been informed of the director’s findings.
Activision Blizzard has been mired in legal battles with shareholders and federal and state regulators since parallel state and federal investigations found the company fostered a culture of “brotherhood” that condoned sexual harassment, assault, and gender discrimination. The lawsuits in turn sparked a wave of worker activism, walkouts, protests and a CWA labor campaign.
Activision Blizzard settled a lawsuit with federal regulators from the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission in March 2022 against the wishes of state investigators from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, who have conducted a parallel investigation. Former Activision Blizzard employee Jessica Gonzalez filed an appeal against the settlement on Monday.
“Under the current EEOC settlement, workers applying to be plaintiffs would be barred from suing Activision Blizzard for future settlements — essentially protecting the company from future legal liability,” a CWA spokesperson wrote in a press release announcing the call.