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Bungie Removes Controversial Employee Contract Clause As It Promises to Improve Workplace Diversity

Bungie has published a blog from the company’s CEO Pete Parsons outlining steps the Destiny 2 developer is taking to improve Diversity & Inclusion at the workplace, including removing a controversial employee contract clause.

In a lengthy blog post, Parsons discussed how Bungie has reacted to recent months where companies like Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft grapple with the fallout of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the workplace.

As part of Bungie’s promise to continue improving its workplace culture, Parsons announced that it is “eliminating the mandatory arbitration clause” in all the employee agreements.

Mandatory arbitration is an agreement where employees settle disputes with their employers privately instead of in the court system. Forced arbitration clauses prevent employees from suing employers through the legal system and can keep details of their grievances from becoming public.

The forced arbitration clause is in place at some of the biggest studios and has been a flashpoint in recent years as companies like Ubisoft, Riot, and Activision Blizzard face unrest over workplace culture.

When Riot employees walked out in 2019, one of the big employee demands was that Riot drops the arbitration clause from employee contracts. And while Riot announced new employees will not have the arbitration clause in their employee agreements, existing employees would have to keep the clause until Riot’s active litigation over sexual discrimination is over.

Similarly, Activision Blizzard employees have also demanded an end to forced arbitration when they walked out earlier this year following the lawsuit from the State of California over gender discrimination and harassment.

Bungie’s decision to remove this unpopular clause suggests companies not currently embroiled in a scandal are looking at the landscape in efforts to improve their workplaces. Bungie also announced it has hired a Chief People Officer, a D&I Director, and set up anonymous channels for employees to tell leaders about problematic behavior at Bungie.

Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard announced that it has settled one of its lawsuits, one filed by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, for $18 million. However, Activision Blizzard is still dealing with the fallout of the lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.