Update 7/6: Ubisoft has updated its statement to employees to reflect the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, we want to reiterate our unwavering support to our US team members and our belief in reproductive rights as human rights. At Ubisoft, the health, safety and wellbeing of our teams will always be our number one priority and we remain committed to providing equitable access to healthcare for all employees and their families, regardless of where they live in the US.
Ubisoft indicated that it is developing a travel reimbursement program that will go into effect on September 1, and will be retroactive to June 30, 2022.
Our original story is below.
Ubisoft has sent out a letter to employees acknowledging the dueling legislative trends of anti-abortion laws and anti-LGBTQ laws in the United States of America. In the letter (shared via a company blog post), chief people officer Anika Grant and vice president of global diversity and inclusion acknowledged the impact these laws may have employees, and promised support from the company for employees to "have access to the quality healthcare that you need."
"Raashi and I are reaching out today because we’ve heard that some of you are deeply concerned by recent State legislation that affects the LGBTQ+ community and by the potential ramifications an upcoming US Supreme Court ruling could have on women as well as trans and non-binary people," Grant wrote in her letter, also acknowledging that Ubisoft employees have called on the company to support these groups.
She then offered a statement on behalf of CEO Yves Guillemot and Ubisoft leadership: "We want to be clear: at Ubisoft, we believe that women’s rights are human rights, trans rights are human rights, and equal rights for all are essential to creating a world where everyone can be their authentic selves and thrive."
This statement directly acknowledges the possible upcoming reversal of Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court ruling that guarantees a right to abortion and bodily autonomy in the United States. (This action would be the end result of several legislative efforts to ban abortion across several states).
Additionally, lawmakers in GOP-controlled statehouses in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and beyond have introduced bills that would ban gender-affirming healthcare to children, deny transgender youth from participating in athletic events that align with their gender, or ban discussion of LGBTQ topics in public schools.
According to Grant, the company is reviewing its benefits packages for U.S. employees to ensure they and their families can receive the necessary healthcare they need, wherever they live in the country. This is most relevant to employees in Ubisoft's Georgia and North Carolina offices.
We should note that while Ubisoft and other companies are making promises to help employees travel to seek healthcare that may be banned in their state, lawmakers have signaled their intent to criminalize such travel.
Grant also promised that the company is "Examining what other resources we can bring to bear to support our women and LGBTQ+ team member sin the U.S. who could be most directly affected." She then went on to tout Ubisoft's donations to advocacy groups and the company's employee resource groups.
Ubisoft's commentary on this topic is slightly more direct than what we've seen from publishers like Electronic Arts, who have affirmed support for employee benefits but avoided naming the legislative reasons such support is needed. Though Ubisoft is commenting on the topic, it isn't quite condemning efforts to restrict these rights.
Other developers like Bungie, ArenaNet, Certain Affinity, Outerloop Games, and more have been much more vocal in their support of abortion rights.
We should also note that Ubisoft has been on rocky ground with how its employees view the company's support for women and LGBTQ developers. In 2020, current and former employees made multiple allegations describing a toxic culture of abuse and sexual harassment that particularly targeted women and LGBT people at the company.
Grant noted that today's statement follows internal feedback from Ubisoft developers. Said developers have been rallying for better conditions at Ubisoft for the last two years. It would seem that internal lobbying has borne some fruit on this issue.