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Ubisoft workers demand more than 'assurances' over harassment and misconduct allegations

"You offer nothing more than your assurance that all investigations are impartial."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

November 1, 2021

3 Min Read

Current and former Ubisoft employees are demanding the French publisher take meaningful action against misconduct after Activision Blizzard outlined plans to implement a "zero-tolerance" harassment policy.

Pro-worker group A Better Ubisoft (ABU) -- which is pushing for reform after a wave of serious harassment and misconduct allegations at Ubisoft -- said that while the company chose to acknowledge its demands during a recent internal presentation held by chief people officer Anika Grant, it has offered nothing more than assurances that change is coming.

"There were some welcome acknowledgements in the presentation of management failures in both the consistency of the complaints process and lack of communication with some of the whistleblowers and witnesses. Beyond that however, there was no new information nor any steps to meet our demands," reads an ABU statement.

"16 months since Ubisoft was forced to take limited action following public posts on Twitter, you talk about 'a strategic roadmap of change for HR' that you are 'getting ready to start rolling out' giving no timeline for delivery nor any hint of what those changes will be."

ABU suggests that Activision Blizzard, which is being sued as a result of its own cultural failings, has made more progress in three months than Ubisoft has done in well over a year.

As part of that aforementioned zero-tolerance policy, Activision has pledged to increase the number of women and non-binary workers at the company by 50 percent within five years. It also intends to invest $250 million to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent, and will waive mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims.

Although ABU acknowledges its own demands aren't identical to those put forward by Activision Blizzard workers, it claims "many overlap and could be addressed through similar actions just as swiftly."

"You offer nothing more than your assurance that all investigations are impartial, all sanctions are appropriate and that victims and witnesses are protected, while offering us no evidence, involvement or oversight in any part of the process," continued the group.

"You suggest that you are giving us a seat at the table by re-launching our global employee satisfaction surveys, but a survey is not a seat at the table. You stress the need to listen to all employees, but unfortunately when the minority of workers come from under-represented backgrounds, their needs and concerns can become buried by people who are unlikely to face harassment, discrimination or abuse.

"We hope you agree that no abuse should be tolerated and those of us who are the victims, reporters and witnesses should be listened to with respect and never dismissed as a minority concern."

ABU is specifically asking that Ubisoft stop promoting and moving known offenders from studio to studio with no repercussions, and wants a "collective seat at the table" so it can have a meaningful say in how the company is run.

The group also hopes to foster cross-industry collaboration and formulate a set of rules and processes that all studios can use to handle misconduct in the future, and is pushing for any such collaboration to "heavily involve employees in non-management positions and union representatives."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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