Activision accused of firing staff for speaking out against remote work policy

A telecom workers union has filed a complaint against Activision for firing two employees who spoke harshly about the gaming company’s recent back-to-the-office work policy.

The Communication Workers of America (CWA) said it filed a complaint with the US National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday seeking to have the workers reinstated.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was specifically named in the complaint.

"When faced with unfair treatment by unscrupulous employers like Activision, workers should have the right to express themselves," CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens said.

Last month, Activision revised its once flexible remote work policy to require employees to report to the office three days per week beginning April 1.

In a post-pandemic world, companies have been struggling to convince workers to come back to the office, leaving once-bustling firms with rows of empty desks and hefty leasing payments instead.

Many employees who prefer to work from home have fought to keep remote polices in play, and often jump ship if their company pushes too hard for in-office attendance.

The new policy received an overwhelmingly negative response from staff, causing Activision to retaliate and fire two game testers who "expressed their outrage using strong language," the CWA said.

An Activision spokesperson said the company took appropriate disciplinary action against the employees for violating its workplace code of conduct.

“Using abusive, threatening or harassing language toward colleagues is unacceptable and we are disappointed that the CWA is advocating for this type of behavior,” said Activision spokesperson Joseph Christinat.

It's not exactly clear what words were used by the game testers.

It is also not the first time the California-based video game publisher has faced controversy with the labor board.

Last year, Acivision was accused of withholding raises from pro-union workers and threatening employees who posted on social media about their working conditions.

The CWA, who represents telecommunications and media industry workers, has been campaigning to unionize the firm and its subsidiaries since 2021.

The Game Workers Alliance was the first unit within Activision who voted to join the CWA last year.

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