Blizzard’s Top HR Guy Out Following Lawsuit And Widespread Criticism

Blizzard’s Top HR Guy Out Following Lawsuit And Widespread Criticism
Image: Blizzard

Another top manager at Blizzard Entertainment has left in the wake of a California lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination at parent company Activision Blizzard. Following the news that Blizzard president J. Allen Brack stepped down earlier today to “pursue new opportunities,” the company confirmed that Blizzard’s head of HR has also moved on.

As first reported by Bloomberg, Blizzard’s SVP of Global HR, Jesse Meschuk, left the company earlier this week. The departure is notable because in addition to alleging that women at Activision Blizzard were sexually harassed and received lower pay and fewer promotions than their male counterparts, California’s lawsuit also includes allegations that corporate HR failed to protect employees and properly address issues when they were reported.

According to a new in-depth report by Axios, several current and former Activision Blizzard employees either didn’t trust HR to help them when they were harassed or were met with scepticism and pushback when they did try to report their issues to HR.

“One of the things [the HR rep] commented on was that she was surprised I wasn’t crying or I wasn’t more hysterical,” one current employee told Axios, in regard to a time she alerted HR to being physically assaulted by a coworker.

“He’s really sorry and he really wants to work at Blizzard. And he says that you were really friendly with him,” HR reportedly told her when she followed up on her original report.

Other current and former employees told Axios that high turnover in HR and a lack of a paper trail in many instances contributed to the dysfunction and lack of trust.

“We will not tolerate anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences,” a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard told Axios. “If employees have any concerns about how Human Resources handled claims, we have other reporting options, including anonymous ones.”

Current Activision Blizzard employees have formed a new group called the ABK Workers Alliance to continue pushing for changes at the company beyond the “listening sessions” and third-party investigations CEO Bobby Kotick has already promised. Those demands include an end to mandatory arbitration and more pay transparency, among other measures.

“We call on you and your executive leadership team to do better, and to fully address our list of demands,” the group announced today. “We will not abandon our cause. Our ranks continue to grow across multiple Activision Blizzard studios.”

Comments

  • Personally, I think there should be far more of a focus on holding HR reps and departments accountable for shit like this. Otherwise what in the actual FUCK is the point of them even existing?

    Maybe then HR departments will actually start protecting employees, and not protecting the company from employees (especially ones who file legitimate complaints) as is the case in the vast majority of situations.

    • Agreed. ‘Step down’ is akin to copping out and it means the responsibility doesn’t fall where it should.

    • HR in general? It exists so that an employer can hire, train and fire staff.

      Protecting staff? Thats the job of unions.

      • Protecting staff is the responsibility of the company, and HR departments are where the bullshit is supposed to get sorted. The fact it is not in a great many cases is PRECISELY the problem.

        Some third party having to form purely because the company isn’t protecting the people who make it money is screwed up beyond all words… And it is only made worse when unions are looked down on and even actively discouraged from forming by such companies.

        • Welcome to the real world. The best you can hope for is that you have a very good, decent, sympathetic boss and you might get somewhere. I won’t even get into the ‘reverse discrimination’ syndrome that’s now become rife in many industries, where middle-aged white males who are perceived to be in a position of power (HAH!), are accused/attacked & vilified because the poor underpaid admin must be the one telling the truth, right? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with going after the deeper pockets, could it…? Pfft.

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