As I'm sure many of you are aware Ubisoft has had some issues come to light regarding employee allegations of harassment and poor management. If not you can follow the link. HERE to learn more.
I worked at Ubisoft Toronto for 8 years and worked with some of the individuals in question. That being said I do not find these allegations surprising. The writing was on the wall for a long time with this individual and no action was taken. Seeing interactions between this person and others from the outside I couldn't tell if they were welcomed or not. I suspected issues (from seeing him following various women around like a puppy) but I never witnessed more. However I also didn't attended company social gatherings.
Ubisoft Toronto in my opinion spent WAY too much money on booze and parties. They had an after hours party in the building once a month as well as individual team parties after most milestones. With multiple team this was a lot of partying. All parties included beer and many times hard liqueur. I rarely attended these because I had a long commute and could never see how I could party then drive the hour home. I would much rather the money had been given as an employee bonus instead, so we all could enjoy the rewards. Plus we now see that these parties gave potential office predators a prime hunting ground.
For me personally I found HR at Ubisoft to be a COMPLETE failure as a place to go when you're having personal or career issues. For instance I entered the game industry to make games, not to become a manager. However I found Ubisoft unable to handle a veteran developer uninterested in moving into management. It seemed if you're content in your role you will be replaced. I went to HR about these issues and look, I don't work there anymore. Guess how that went? Of course these issues I encountered are nothing compared to the sexual harassment others encountered working there.
So now that this dirt is all out there in the public eye, management is suddenly very concerned. CEO Yves Guillemot made a statement about how shocked he is and how change needs to happen. His statement HERE.
In closing I'm thrilled to no longer be employed at Ubisoft Toronto and am truly saddened to hear some of my co-workers had to endure this type of treatment daily. ALL events at Ubisoft Toronto were ravenously tweeted and posted on Instagram for the "Look how awesome we are." PR pieces. I don't think an event would happen at UbiTor if it couldn't be part of a PR spin. UbiTor worked hard to publicly created an image of being at the forefront of equality & LGBTQ issues in the gaming industry, but internally failed to uphold these beliefs.
UPDATE: And the news continues. Serge and Yannis also stepped down as well as the head of HR Cecile Cornet. Serge was the guy that made all the go/no go calls for most if not all Ubisoft titles. Yannis was the president of Ubisoft Canada. I would assume Cecile resigned for protecting them instead of taking action however that is just my speculation.
Read more HERE
NOTE: HR is there to help the company. The company signs their pay checks, their job is to protect them. They aren't there to help employees with their problems. They're there to stop employee problems from hurting the company. Be on your guard, question the things they say. My girlfriend went to her company HR department about a harassment issue. They express how important it was that she came to them and scheduled a meeting with her for the next day. Magically she was "laid off" that afternoon. Was it wrong and illegal? Sure but it still happened and she didn't have the funds to fight it. So really consider that before going to them with an issue. I'm not saying don't address the issues with them, I'm saying be prepared. HR is not your friend.