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CWA files charges against Activision over firing of two employees

The CWA claims two workers were fired in retaliation for speaking out

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The Communication Workers of America (CWA) has filed charges against Activision, claiming the publisher violated workplace laws in its firing of two QA employees.

According to Kotaku, the dispute relates to Activision Blizzard’s push to bring workers back into the office, which has been met with resistance. Two QA testers allegedly expressed outrage using “strong language,” and disciplinary meetings were set up where both workers were fired.

The CWA argues that outbursts and strong language in the “context of concerted activity” was protected by the National Labor Relations Board until 2020, where it says the government “systematically rolled back workers’ right, including modifying the standard for determining whether employees have been lawfully disciplined or discharged after making offensive statements,” which the CWA says “ultimately limits free speech rights for employees.”

Via Kotaku, the charges have been filed against Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, and allege that the firings were made in response to the employees’ “engagement in protected, concerted and union activity.” The CWA also alleges that Activision “improperly denied a request to have a coworker witness the disciplinary meeting which preceded the termination of [their] employment.”

“For far too long, Activision has gotten away with treating its employees, especially QA testers, like disposable workhorses. Firing two employees for joining with their co-workers to express concern around hasty return to office policies is retaliation, point blank,” said CWA secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens. “When faced with unfair treatment by unscrupulous employers like Activision, workers should have the right to express themselves.”

Activision responds

In response, an Activision spokesperson told Kotaku: “We don’t allow employees to use profane or abusive language against each other. We’re disappointed the CWA advocates this type of behavior.”

Per GamesIndustry.biz, the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board will now investigate the CWA’s charges.


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Senior Editor - While Eric's been writing about games since 2014, he's been playing them for a lot longer. Usually found grinding RPG battles, digging into an indie gem, or hanging out around the Limsa Aethryte.