Nordic Game Report Suggests Company Misconduct Violates Discrimination Act

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Nordic Game (not the developer) is an annual video game conference held in Sweden, and a report suggests possible violations of the Swedish Discrimination Act (SDA).

An external investigation has revealed many details about the allegations that the Nordic Game Conference faced this Wednesday, and a summary of the findings seems to have done far more than clear the company of inappropriate misconduct, which has unfortunately become more common in the gaming industry over the past few years. The third-party company in charge of the investigation, Gender Balance, released a three-page manifesto of their findings, with names withheld for privacy reasons of course, listing a total of five different allegations made against two male employees.

The report states, “It summarizes the findings of the full report in a way that is intended to make it suitable for public release, while respecting the integrity of the persons involved,” with “No assessments or conclusions have been changed for this summary, but some assessments and conclusions have been deliberately omitted for the reasons stated above,” which is important to keep in mind when viewing the report.

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The SDA clearly states in Section 4: “Harassment: conduct that violates a person’s dignity and is related to one of the grounds of discrimination: sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation, or age” is a violation of the Act. The report lists a number of conclusions, all of which are relevant to the findings:

  • Five allegations of sexual misconduct against man 1 (M1) have been corroborated. The
    misconduct has been both physical and verbal. Most victims have been in a position of
    personal or professional dependence to M1. There are an additional two uncorroborated
    claims against M1.
  • At least three of the confirmed instances of misconduct by M1 have likely amounted to
    sexual harassment in violation of 2 chap. 2 § The Discrimination Act (SFS 2008:567). The
    remaining two instances likely fall outside of the purview of the Discrimination Act.
  • There are five confirmed and two unconfirmed victims of M1’s misconduct. All victims
    are women
Gender Balance Findings

In order to protect identities, Gender Balance has not released any details about the exact nature of the misconduct, but the “M1” listed in the report “potentially damaged the reputation of Nordic Game. In the case of three of the victims, the misconduct was of such a that it is likely that Nordic Game, as the responsible employer, has violated the prohibition against against discrimination”.

The accused ‘M2’ was not given such a conclusion due to “the nature of the complaints and due to the alleged misconduct, which occurred a considerable time ago, there were very few good investigative and the few that were available were invariably dead ends.”

It’s important to note that while no names have been released, Gender Balance states, “Several people have testified to a culture at Nordic Game ranging from the informal and friendly (in a positive sense), to the unprofessional and inappropriate. This culture centered around M1 and M2, who by all accounts, were good friends. The work could often lack structure in a general sense and frequently included heavy partying in conjunction with conferences or business trips. This created a high dependency for some of the victims on M1, which clearly M1 exploited.”

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Finally, Nordic Game may be facing a loss of trust due to their inefficient initial response to the above complaints, as Gender Balance puts it, “Nordic Game’s initial response to these allegations appears to have lacked structure and on a few occasions, individual employees or associates of Nordic Game contacted suspected victims with unsanctioned messages,” while the accused “M1” threatened legal action against anyone making allegations.

Fans should treat this information with caution, as much of it has been redacted, and no conclusions should be drawn until official announcements are made. Fans can read the full report on the Nordic Game website.

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