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Activision Blizzard Accused of Illegally Surveilling Employees

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. / Drew Angerer/GettyImages

A complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has accused Activision Blizzard of illegally surveilling its employees, Kotaku reports.

The complaint, filed Aug. 12, says Activision Blizzard revoked employee access to a chat channel workers used to discuss pay and hours, and threatened to kill other internal communication channels. The company is also said to have engaged in coercive statements and actions, coercive rules, and concentrated activities such as retaliation and discipline.

Employees from several Activision Blizzard offices participated in a walkout organized by the worker advocacy group ABK Workers Alliance in July. The walkout was held to protest what workers viewed as the company's subpar response to reports of gender inequity. Activision Blizzard is said to have taken the illegal actions described in this latest NLRB complaint during the walkout.

Unionization efforts have ramped up across Activision Blizzard's locations. Quality assurance (QA) testers at Raven Software successfully unionized earlier this year as the Game Workers Alliance, and QA testers at Blizzard Albany are attempting to follow suit as the Game Workers Alliance Albany.

Activision Blizzard has yet to recognize GWA Albany, and has lobbied the NLRB to expand the unionization vote from the QA department to the entirety of Blizzard Albany in an attempt to defeat the organizing effort. The NLRB rejected that argument when Activision Blizzard deployed it against the original GWA, but even if it should fail it will buy management more time to fight unionization efforts.

The Aug. 12 complaint to the NLRB is the second this year, after one filed in May accused the company of illegally threatening employees to stay quiet about wages and working conditions. A third complaint was filed in December 2021 that accused the company of coercive statements.