Watchdog closes probe into Ubisoft Singapore and will not take action

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A Singaporean employment watchdog has closed an investigation against Ubisoft Singapore that was opened following allegations of a toxic studio culture and says it will not be taking action against the company. The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) investigation was opened last summer after Kotaku published an extensive article detailing alleged issues at the company based on interviews with more than 20 current and former employees. The claims included racial pay disparity, sexual harassment, and an HR department that allegedly took little action in response to reports.

The TAFEP shared two key findings in a press release sent to The Verge. The first was that “Ubisoft Singapore has a structured process to remunerate its employees fairly, which does not disadvantage Singaporeans based on nationality or race.” According to the TAFEP, Ubisoft hired an independent HR firm to review its salary structure, and the studio shared what the firm found with the TAFEP. The watchdog said it did its own checks to verify the results. “The findings show that employees’ salaries were performance-based, and there were reasonable justifications where there was disparity, such as differences in experience or seniority,” the TAFEP says.

The TAFEP’s second key finding was that “Ubisoft Singapore handled the workplace harassment reports that it received appropriately.” Ubisoft has “a structured system to manage workplace harassment,” and Ubisoft has investigated “every report it received,” according to the TAFEP’s press release.

In its own statement, Ubisoft says it fully cooperated with TAFEP during the investigation. “We’ve put best practices in place at Ubisoft Singapore to ensure a safe, respectful, inclusive, and equitable workplace for every member of our team,” says Ubisoft Singapore managing director Darryl Long. “We will continue striving to be an exemplary employer in Singapore and the region, one that attracts and retains the best talents and creates amazing games that enrich the lives of our players.”

The end of the investigation arrives amid a broader cultural reckoning in the gaming industry. Allegations of culture problems at Ubisoft surfaced in the summer of 2020, and while the company said at the time that it was making changes, the results of a company survey published in October 2020 found that 25 percent of employees had seen or experienced workplace misconduct. Although the company discussed its progress in a May 24th blog post penned by CEO Yves Guillemot, an investigation by French publication Le Télégramme from earlier that month still found many shortcomings.

Activision Blizzard is also under intense scrutiny following the state of California’s lawsuit alleging the company fostered a toxic culture. Riot Games recently announced a $100 million settlement deal in a discrimination and harassment lawsuit brought by female employees.

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