Ubisoft is not doing enough to address harassment complaints, according to employees at the company.
Due to a lack of trust in the company’s HR department, last year Ubisoft implemented a “Respect at Ubisoft” email to handle complaints, and has also introduced third-party reporting software. These anonymous platforms were supposed to ensure that employees could make complaints without fear of reprisals, but current and former employees state that it results in it being difficult to get any answers.
One employee stated that they had to repeatedly call and email the external firm Ubisoft hired to review complaints, only to be told that they would not be investigating the complaint with no reason given for this. Another said that they simply never heard back about their complaint.
Another was repeatedly told that their case would be investigated, only to never receive any updates as to how their complaint was resolved.
“I suddenly began to understand the response some veteran Ubisoft devs gave me when I tried to recruit them to come forward [about similar issues],” one employee told Kotaku. “It was always some variation of, ‘Same thing happens every few years, I’ve reported X number of things, with witnesses and proof and either nothing was done or person X was promoted or moved.’ It’s sad, and if it’s an intentional way of burying this stuff, it’s working.”
Despite these frustrations, Ubisoft continues to deny employees the right to speak publicly about the problems at the company – as seen in an email sent to staff by Ubisoft Montreal director Christophe Derennes.
“As you know, your experiences and the information you have access to while working in the studio are privileged and cannot be shared outside of the studio,” said Derennes.
“Obviously, this does not prevent journalists from trying to contact you. If that happens, we ask that you forward the request to our Media Relations Officer. It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also a commitment you made under the Code of Conduct, the Anti-Leak Policy and your employment contract.”
Following the news of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit, current and former Ubisoft employees formed the group ABetterUbisoft and called for industry-wide change. Despite the company promising changed, the group says that Ubisoft has continued to ignore their complaints, and that it has yet to set up a meeting to discuss worker demands.
“No matter how the head of Ubisoft wants things to change, the problems we’ll run into for a long time is that people in power—directors, managers—are from the old guard, so even with the best intentions issues are still happening,” said a current Ubisoft Montreal developer to Kotaku. “People who think in the same way as the one already in power advance over the others.”