Paizo Leadership Team Update

Monday, November 15, 2021

Over the last six weeks, Paizo's Leadership Team has attempted to better listen to and understand the challenges faced by its workforce, customers, and community. We want to take a moment to update you on a few important developments that have emerged from those conversations.

Before we begin, it's important to note that this update does not address requests regarding salaries, adjustments to the current work-from-home environment, or other matters that are now subject to negotiation with the United Paizo Workers union during collective bargaining.

We’re still searching diligently for a candidate to fill the company’s Human Resources Manager position, and plan to begin interviews very shortly. As this is an incredibly important hire, we want to make sure we find the right candidate with experience leading initiatives related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and working with a union. We are continuing to gather resumes as the search continues.

We’ve hired a company called Energage to complete an employee engagement survey on behalf of Paizo. This survey is designed to allow employees to provide anonymous, unfiltered, and honest feedback to the company that will help Paizo establish priorities for improvement planning. It will also serve as an important benchmark against which to measure the results of future surveys, allowing us to develop a baseline to measure against. We expect employees to be able to access the engagement survey sometime this week.

Discussion in the past several months has resurfaced two instances in which a Paizo executive mishandled user data when replying to message board posts, resulting in allegations of doxxing. These actions were contrary to Paizo policy, and corrective actions were taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

“This was a huge mistake on my part and I am deeply sorry for any issues that have arisen from these actions. This was not the right way to treat our customers and I apologize,” said Paizo President Jeff Alvarez. “As President, I know I need to hold myself to a higher standard.”

Paizo takes issues related to discrimination and harassment very seriously. We have hired the law firm of Moritt Hock & Hamroff (MH&H) to investigate allegations of discrimination against trans employees and sexual misconduct before reporting back to the Leadership Team. Investigators from the firm will reach out to members of Paizo’s staff and others that made claims on social media. Cooperation with the firm is voluntary, of course, but we remain committed to investigating these matters thoroughly to ensure a safe and respectful workplace.

We chose MH&H upon the recommendation of a consultant with expertise in matters of DEIB. MH&H has a team of attorneys that specialize in these issues, and we’re confident they’ll be able to provide an impartial analysis of the facts that we need to move forward with any corrective actions.

Because the results of these investigations are private personnel matters, Paizo will not be able to make them public. Corrective actions will be taken against any employee (including managers and executives) found to be guilty of these allegations.

It has never been Paizo’s intention to discriminate against any employee when making decisions of who to send to industry trade shows, but we see now that our room-sharing policy was based on outdated interpretations of gender, was not friendly to transgender employees, and could contribute to a perception of transphobia at the company. Paizo’s Leadership Team acknowledges the pain this caused, and we understand that we need to be better at recognizing issues where such decisions could have unintended results. We also recognize that such actions do not align with Paizo's core values, the values of its staff members, or the sentiments of diversity and inclusion expressed in Paizo products, and as such, have disappointed, angered, and confused members of our community. We believe these mistakes are not representative of who we are, or what we want the company to represent. We need to do better... and we will.

“As the person in charge of trade shows, I want to apologize to anyone that felt marginalized as a result of the convention decision-making process,” said Jeff Alvarez. “It was not our intent to discriminate against anyone, and I’m sorry.”

As previously communicated, Paizo has adopted a one-employee-per-room travel policy moving forward. Regardless of gender identity, couples will be allowed to share rooms during travel as long as both parties request it.

Paizo remains committed to maintaining a diverse, safe, and fun workplace where our employees are treated fairly and look forward to creating awesome Pathfinder and Starfinder products for many years to come. We hope that this update helps communicate that we, the Leadership Team, are doing our best to listen to and address the concerns of our community members. We believe in creating a better Paizo, and believe that transparency, communication, and accountability will be instrumental as we move forward. Thank you for your continued support of our company and our products.

Paizo Leadership Team
David, Erik, Jeff, Jim, Lisa, and Mike

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Shadow Lodge

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The lack of understanding of business in this tread is appalling. First it's complaining that Paizo (a privately held company) doesn't follow the same mandatory financial reporting requirements that public companies do. Then it's complaints that they DARE hire a law firm that represents their interests. I can hate late stage capitalism as much as the next guy, but guess what, representing their best interests is what companies do. In fact, if Paizo were publicly held, failing to do so would be considered a violation of their fiduciary responsibility. Is there anything that you dozen that constantly complain can't complain about next?

So let's address the elephant in the room. Did Paizo "actually" hire a DIEB law firm.

Yes the did. Under the recommendation of a DEIB specialist they picked a law firm specialized in...*gasp* EMPLOYMENT LAW!

That's right, MH&H specializes in Employment law and provided the following statement(from their website), "While our employment attorneys are experienced and aggressive litigators, they also recognize that employers often prefer to avoid litigation if possible. Accordingly, the firm regularly counsels clients on how to avoid problems and minimize risk with respect to such issues as employee discipline, alleged harassment, the protection of trade secrets, reductions in force, severance and other matters." DEIB, being issues of harassment are inherently employment law issues, ergo they specialize in this work. Stating they do not is simply finding the next thing to complain about because the last thing to complain about fell on deaf ears.

Yes, arguments can be made that this law firm clearly has Paizo's best interests in mind (not the employees); however, in the case of finding and weeding out harassment the employer and employees needs align (the employer doesn't get sued, the employee has the harasser dealt with). Futhermore, as I said before - companies act in their best interest - that's the reason Paizo employees are founding a Union. If they didn't do so I'd question their very desire to stay in business.

I've watched for weeks now and all I see are the same dozen or so people that have already stated that they're done with Paizo come and find yet another thing to complain about because the path to a solution isn't EXACTLY the path that they've told Paizo that they have to follow. Without Jeff's head on a literal pike sitting outside the office, I can say that no solution Paizo will come up with will meet your demands. It's not even worth it for them to put out statements, because there is no statement other than, "we have launched Jeff into the sun" that is going to satiate this crowd.

As someone that wants to see Paizo employees thrive and survive this, I wait for THEIR opinion on what is going on. If they're unhappy, I'm unhappy. If you all are unhappy though, at this point I just see the old man yelling at a cloud.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Nah. You have it twisted. The complaint isn't that they hired someone to look out for their own best interests. The complaint is that they are claiming that they did it in the best interest of their employees.

Twisting the truth is what got us here in the first place. Feel free to add fuel to that fire and just increase the confirmation bias that those of us asking for clarity already have.

In before someone says 'see you have confirmation bias!'

Shadow Lodge

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Yoshua wrote:
Nah. You have it twisted. The complaint isn't that they hired someone to look out for their own best interests. The complaint is that they are claiming that they did it in the best interest of their employees.

No...that's what you want them to have said. Paizo said.

"We chose MH&H upon the recommendation of a consultant with expertise in matters of DEIB. MH&H has a team of attorneys that specialize in these issues, and we’re confident they’ll be able to provide an impartial analysis of the facts that we need to move forward with any corrective actions.

Because the results of these investigations are private personnel matters, Paizo will not be able to make them public. Corrective actions will be taken against any employee (including managers and executives) found to be guilty of these allegations. "

Quote:
Twisting the truth is what got us here in the first place. Feel free to add fuel to that fire and just increase the confirmation bias that those of us asking for clarity already have.

Well we can agree on one thing.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I don't have to agree with ya to know you have valid reasons for believing what you are stating. But taking a snippet out to prove a point when there is years upon years of experiences with the upper management that shows exactly how they have historically responded to grievances is disingenous.

I sorta get it, you love the company and want it to thrive. The unionization of the workers make it fairly clear, with their public statements, that they are not happy under the current conditions.

So, in one breath you say you are with the workers and in the next breath believe everything that the public statements say from the people who created those conditions.

The mental gymnastics for me to come to the same conclusions you do would put me at the level of an olympic athlete.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MisterSlanky wrote:

The lack of understanding of business in this tread is appalling. First it's complaining that Paizo (a privately held company) doesn't follow the same mandatory financial reporting requirements that public companies do. Then it's complaints that they DARE hire a law firm that represents their interests. I can hate late stage capitalism as much as the next guy, but guess what, representing their best interests is what companies do. In fact, if Paizo were publicly held, failing to do so would be considered a violation of their fiduciary responsibility. Is there anything that you dozen that constantly complain can't complain about next?

So let's address the elephant in the room. Did Paizo "actually" hire a DIEB law firm.

Yes the did. Under the recommendation of a DEIB specialist they picked a law firm specialized in...*gasp* EMPLOYMENT LAW!

That's right, MH&H specializes in Employment law and provided the following statement(from their website), "While our employment attorneys are experienced and aggressive litigators, they also recognize that employers often prefer to avoid litigation if possible. Accordingly, the firm regularly counsels clients on how to avoid problems and minimize risk with respect to such issues as employee discipline, alleged harassment, the protection of trade secrets, reductions in force, severance and other matters." DEIB, being issues of harassment are inherently employment law issues, ergo they specialize in this work. Stating they do not is simply finding the next thing to complain about because the last thing to complain about fell on deaf ears.

Yes, arguments can be made that this law firm clearly has Paizo's best interests in mind (not the employees); however, in the case of finding and weeding out harassment the employer and employees needs align (the employer doesn't get sued, the employee has the harasser dealt with). Futhermore, as I said before - companies act in their best interest - that's the reason Paizo employees are founding a Union. If they...

Basically as Yoshua says, it's the contrast between the claimed intent and what the apparent intent was.

What they said they were doing was hire this firm "to investigate allegations of discrimination against trans employees and sexual misconduct". Not to defend against current lawsuits, not to advise on polices to avoid future harassment incidents, but to investigate past allegations.
Now it might still be that both Paizo and this firm are enlightened enough to realize that everything coming to light is the best way to move forward, even if there's some short term cost, but I no longer have that trust in Paizo, nor does what little I know of this firm inspire such trust.

If you're going to hire an outside party for such investigations, you really want them to be as impartial as possible. Or at least to appear so, since that's what will lend confidence to the results of their investigations. If they're obviously in management's corner, then everyone is going to assume that whatever they report is slanted that way. "He investigated himself and found that he did nothing wrong."
Or worse, assume that anything the firm finds will be used by management against employees as needed and thus keep employees from cooperating.

Dark Archive

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thejeff wrote:
If they're obviously in management's corner, then everyone is going to assume that whatever they report is slanted that way. "He investigated himself and found that he did nothing wrong."

Can someone point me in the direction where it was stated by Paizo that the firm they hired is exclusively protecting Paizo assets? Because I read a lot of people assuming this notion.


Leg o' Lamb wrote:
thejeff wrote:
If they're obviously in management's corner, then everyone is going to assume that whatever they report is slanted that way. "He investigated himself and found that he did nothing wrong."
Can someone point me in the direction where it was stated by Paizo that the firm they hired is exclusively protecting Paizo assets? Because I read a lot of people assuming this notion.

Of course they haven't said that. No one would ever say that in this circumstance.

Some people are inferring it from the normal lawyer/client relationship, which this isn't quite. Or shouldn't be. The firm's apparent reputation and the way they advertise themselves don't inspire confidence either.

Grand Lodge

I do expect the firm to complete a thorough investigation. I do not expect it to be impartial. I do expect that they will advise Paizo how to behave moving forward. That behavior should both comply with laws and regulars but also help to create an environment where both employer and employee will be happy or at least satisfied with their treatment. I do not expect the firm to do anything that would help an employee with any possible future litigation. I do expect the firm will do what is necessary to mitigate any liability for Paizo. Meaning that if they were to discover/conclude that Paizo did something illegal, they are not going to make it public, but will advise Paizo how to avoid litigation, reduce any possible risk, and (again) advise them how to avoid it in the future. Any idea that the firm will be impartial or will do anything that would directly benefit the employees or UPW unless it is a byproduct of helping Paizo is at best wishful thinking.

EDIT—if Paizo had hired a firm to investigate their behavior six months ago before a series of very public accusations, they might be in a position to claim this is all impartial and with the hope of helping them improve their internal relationships. Now, it’s time to CYA

Grand Lodge

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Employees who feel there was illegal behavior should hire representation. Short of that, unless some third party hires an investigative team to truly conduct an impartial investigation there won’t be one


Honestly, I expect much the same.

But that's different from saying that's the proper role for such an investigation or what a quality firm would have to do when hired to investigate allegations.
Nor, most importantly, is it the impression Paizo's formal statement seems to have been trying to give.

Grand Lodge

I agree. I’m not saying my expectations are what I want to see, just that’s it’s what I expect out of a business in the position they are in. At the end of the day, it’s the same people running Paizo now as when the issues occurred. To expect them to do the “right” thing now is a bit naive, IMO

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MisterSlanky wrote:

The lack of understanding of business in this tread is appalling. First it's complaining that Paizo (a privately held company) doesn't follow the same mandatory financial reporting requirements that public companies do. Then it's complaints that they DARE hire a law firm that represents their interests. I can hate late stage capitalism as much as the next guy, but guess what, representing their best interests is what companies do. In fact, if Paizo were publicly held, failing to do so would be considered a violation of their fiduciary responsibility. Is there anything that you dozen that constantly complain can't complain about next?

So let's address the elephant in the room. Did Paizo "actually" hire a DIEB law firm.

Yes the did. Under the recommendation of a DEIB specialist they picked a law firm specialized in...*gasp* EMPLOYMENT LAW!

That's right, MH&H specializes in Employment law and provided the following statement(from their website), "While our employment attorneys are experienced and aggressive litigators, they also recognize that employers often prefer to avoid litigation if possible. Accordingly, the firm regularly counsels clients on how to avoid problems and minimize risk with respect to such issues as employee discipline, alleged harassment, the protection of trade secrets, reductions in force, severance and other matters." DEIB, being issues of harassment are inherently employment law issues, ergo they specialize in this work. Stating they do not is simply finding the next thing to complain about because the last thing to complain about fell on deaf ears.

Yes, arguments can be made that this law firm clearly has Paizo's best interests in mind (not the employees); however, in the case of finding and weeding out harassment the employer and employees needs align (the employer doesn't get sued, the employee has the harasser dealt with). Futhermore, as I said before - companies act in their best interest - that's the reason Paizo employees are founding a Union. If they...

Once more someone comes in and points out a paragraph from the employment law section that is AFTER the paragraph in the same section that says they aggressively defend clients when facing allegations of harassment. What they prioritize is clear, and it's not coming to amicable solution.

Grand Lodge

To be fair, when lawyers get involved even if the results are agreeable, they are rarely amicable


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Kinda brings us back to the "was a law firm really the best way to go about this" question, then, doesn't it?

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

From a business perspective, fairly sure it was. From a community perspective, nothing really says “bad faith” like hiring a law firm after an incident/event. Just my experience after having had to hire an attorney more than half a dozen times for a variety of reasons

Dark Archive

Cori Marie wrote:
…they aggressively defend clients when facing allegations of harassment. What they prioritize is clear, and it's not coming to amicable solution.

Do you know if Paizo retained this law firm’s services in response to being served with notice of a lawsuit?

Grand Lodge

If they did, it does not seem to be public (at least not yet). I have been watching, but have not found any evidence of anyone seeking litigation against Paizo.

Dark Archive

TwilightKnight wrote:
If they did, it does not seem to be public (at least not yet). I have been watching, but have not found any evidence of anyone seeking litigation against Paizo.

Exactly.

Silver Crusade

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Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
…they aggressively defend clients when facing allegations of harassment. What they prioritize is clear, and it's not coming to amicable solution.
Do you know if Paizo retained this law firm’s services in response to being served with notice of a lawsuit?

The discussion is about what the firm specializes in. That's what the firm prioritizes talking about when talking about employment law. Again this is an Occam's Razor situation. They say they focus on something in the first paragraph. In the next they talk about other things they are willing to do. This isn't a firm that specializes in DEIB, and makes no mention of striving to protect the rights of diverse groups, instead makes sure you know they're willing to fight if a minority group decides they deserve to not be discriminated against.

Grand Lodge

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The more I think on it, the less I care about the law firm. Unless someone files suit against Paizo for something criminal or even civil, the past is the past. I don't like it, but we cannot affect it. So, my eyes are looking forward and on the UPW. I want to see how the contract negotiations go and what benefits they can secure.

I fully expect the law firm to advise Paizo how to change their behavior to avoid future problems, but that will all occur behind closed doors with the executive team. However, the results of their negotiations with the UPW will be very public and we'll get some insight into what Paizo is going to look like moving forward. The very fact that this has become so public and there are a lot of very attentive eyes on Paizo that in an of itself means working conditions should improve. They cannot afford to even allow the appearance of mistreatment let alone an actual incident because it will be shouted from the mountaintop.

Its been nearly three weeks since the last posting by UPW. I wonder what is going on? They are small enough they should have been able to elect officers and determine their negotiation committee by now. Have they met as an entity to discuss and formalize their constitution? Have they submitted anything official to Paizo yet? Is there any progress towards negotiations at this time? Have they published a rough timeline of events? Yes, it takes some time to get everything done, but not too much. Momentum is an important thing in contract negotiations. The longer the process takes, the more momentum begins to dissipate.


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Paizo still has an open posting for Human Resources Manager*. Given the scope of their duties, I suspect Paizo is putting off any negotiations with the union until that position is filled. Notice that the person is not part of the C-level Executive Team, but instead reports to the CFO

Quote:

Under the direction of the CFO, job duties may include,

Maintains satisfactory labor-management relations through a variety of techniques such as quarterly meetings.

Participates in collective bargaining negotiations and ensures compliance with collective bargaining agreements.

Investigates problems such as working conditions, disciplinary actions, and employee and applicant appeals and grievances. Provides guidance and recommendations for problem resolution to departmental officials and individuals.

Oversees the development and implementation of employee relations activities, surveys and engagement/retention efforts.

Prepares and presents required and special reports related to employee and labor relations.

According to this blog post, *We’re still searching diligently for a candidate to fill the company’s Human Resources Manager position".

Jeff first announced that search on September 20, 2021.


Well, that's only part of the job description as it is currently posted.

Full posting:

Human Resources Manager
Perm/Temp: Permanent

Salary Exempt

Description
Be part of the team driving one of the most exciting and influential tabletop game companies in the world. Paizo is seeking a full-time Human Resources Manager to join our management team. As Paizo’s HR Manager you will partner with the Chief Financial Officer and the extended Leadership Team in executing activities across all HR disciplines. Paizo is seeking an HR professional who will implement and oversee HR programs, policies, and practices in a union environment that values diversity and inclusion. Excellent communication skills, solid decision-making, creative problem-solving, and organization skills are essential to success in this role.

Ours is a fun and imaginative culture made up of highly creative and smart people that are passionate about the products we produce. If you are an experienced Human Resources professional that happens to have a creative flare in your personality, please apply today!

Under the direction of the CFO, job duties may include, but may not be limited to, the following:

Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Administers employee benefits programs.
Communicates with employees regarding benefit eligibility and respond to benefit inquiries in a timely, and service-oriented manner.
Maintains satisfactory labor-management relations through a variety of techniques such as quarterly meetings.
Participates in collective bargaining negotiations and ensures compliance with collective bargaining agreements.
Investigates problems such as working conditions, disciplinary actions, and employee and applicant appeals and grievances. Provides guidance and recommendations for problem resolution to departmental officials and individuals.
Oversees the development and implementation of employee relations activities, surveys and engagement/retention efforts.
Prepares and presents required and special reports related to employee and labor relations.
Develops and presents the operating budget for the employee relations department and, upon final budget approval, ensures that all functions operate within appropriated amounts.
Evaluates, or reviews performance evaluations of, all department employees.
Recommends hiring, promotion, termination, disciplinary and commendatory actions of all assigned personnel.
Plans and leads Open Enrollment and informational benefit meetings.
Coordinates 401(k) educational meetings with our Plan Fund Manager.
Manages COBRA administration.
Manages benefits insurance enrollments and related invoice reconciliations in partnership with Finance & Accounting.
Responsible for Federal and State levies tracking and reporting, including communicating with employees and supervisor on rights, changes and updates.
Reviews and implements employee requests for reasonable accommodations when ADA is applicable.
Manages unemployment claims and garnishments.
Recruits, interviews, and facilitates the hiring of qualified job applicants for open positions; collaborates with departmental managers to understand skills and competencies required for openings.
Optimizes the on-boarding and off-boarding of employees.
Oversees personnel files (general, medical, I-9, etc.) for all staff, adhering to record retention and archive schedules as necessary.
Leads the annual performance review and mid-year check-in cycle. Optimizes tools and resources for Performance Management and Training and Development tracking.
Develops and implements personnel policies and procedures; updates and maintains the Employee Handbook.
Develops and maintains records, reports, and logs to conform to regulations and Company policies.
Ensures compliance with Background check provider policies and related regulations.
Ensures compliance with all required employment law/labor postings.
Exhibits a professional/personable demeanor in all employee interactions.
Ensures confidentiality of all Human Resources information and communications is maintained.
Performs other duties as assigned.
Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
In-depth knowledge of human resources federal and state laws.
Expertise in issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Expertise in understanding and application of relevant labor and employment laws; collective bargaining agreements; management training of these principles.
Expertise in effective labor relations: building consensus with union representatives and employee delegates.
Expertise in overseeing all union grievances and arbitrations.
Proficient with Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or equivalent programs.
Ability to work effectively with third-party benefits partners, including insurance carriers, brokers, and technical platform service providers.
Strong detail orientation, organizational and time management skills.
Ability to prepare effective presentation materials and speak effectively before employees of the organization.
Ability to write reports, business correspondence, procedural manuals and general communications clearly and concisely.
Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from managers, employees, and applicants with a high level of customer service and professionalism.
Define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid objective conclusions and recommendations.
Excellent customer service skills and ability to relate well with a diverse population across various staffing levels, showing respect, care and concern in a professional and appropriate way.
Experience in the gaming industry a plus, but not required.
Maintain a sense of humor and a positive attitude with coworkers.
Education and Experience
Bachelor’s degree (BA/BS) and minimum five year’s progressive human resources experience with an emphasis in union relations.

Job Benefits
Fully paid medical, dental, and vision plans for employee and immediate family.
Paid vacation, sick leave, and personal days provided.
Access to company 401(k) with employer matching.
Employee discount on paizo.com.
Bonus eligible.
To Apply:
Email your resume to hr@paizo.com

For a non-C-suite position, they certainly have an immense amount of responsibilities.

And there's not even a snazzy title to go with it. "Manager"? Not even "director"? I'd say the job as described is actually 'Chief People Officer', reporting directly to the President.

It certainly doesn't hurt Lisa and her leadership team to look very carefully for exactly the right person. Union negotiations can't start until that person is hired. No need to rush.


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There's the prospect that the 'ideal candidate' may be driven away by a potentially toxic workplace environment where they are expected to do EVERYTHING that the Leadership Team wants to pawn off onto them.

I also notice that the posting does not include relocation expenses, so unless someone is independently wealthy or has enough set aside it's going to be a hard sell for an exceptionally pricey area.

Liberty's Edge

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It’s threads like these that remind me why WotC and GW gave up on forums and this type of direct communication years ago. The majority of customers either don’t know or don’t care, and the minority that do care seem impossible to please. There’s just no winning here. I do give kudos to Paizo for at least continuing to try despite it all.


Blog Post wrote:
We chose MH&H upon the recommendation of a consultant[\b] with expertise in matters of DEIB. MH&H has a team of attorneys that [b]specialize in these issues, and we’re confident they’ll be able to provide an impartial analysis of the facts that we need to move forward with any corrective actions.

Bolded sections for clarity. I don’t see a statement that MH&H specializes in DEIB; only that the consultant did. And “these issues” appears to me to refer to internal investigations of corporate conduct.


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Given the issues surrounding Paizo, and given that HR is (largely) industry agnostic, I wish them well finding a halfway decent candidate.

But given that likely any candidate able to handle this type of situation can find a position for at least twice or triple the salary ……. it seems unlikely.

Dark Archive

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Kinda brings us back to the "was a law firm really the best way to go about this" question, then, doesn't it?

According to my brother who is a Union rep Actually yes this is all very standard above the board stuff now admitadly I'm in the Uk so maybe it does work diffrently in the Us but I havent seen anything that indicates that is not the case.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TwilightKnight wrote:
Its been nearly three weeks since the last posting by UPW. I wonder what is going on?

If UPW also has a lawyer, they probably advised the to stop speaking publicly. That's usually the first thing lawyers do.

-Skeld

Dark Archive

Cori Marie wrote:
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
…they aggressively defend clients when facing allegations of harassment. What they prioritize is clear, and it's not coming to amicable solution.
Do you know if Paizo retained this law firm’s services in response to being served with notice of a lawsuit?
The discussion is about what the firm specializes in. That's what the firm prioritizes talking about when talking about employment law. Again this is an Occam's Razor situation. They say they focus on something in the first paragraph. In the next they talk about other things they are willing to do. This isn't a firm that specializes in DEIB, and makes no mention of striving to protect the rights of diverse groups, instead makes sure you know they're willing to fight if a minority group decides they deserve to not be discriminated against.

You didn’t answer my question.

Dark Archive

Skeld wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Its been nearly three weeks since the last posting by UPW. I wonder what is going on?

If UPW also has a lawyer, they probably advised the to stop speaking publicly. That's usually the first thing lawyers do.

-Skeld

From what I understand, negotiations have started. I expect no public announcements until either an impasse or agreement.

Dark Archive

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Either way I do hope the union "wins out" negotiations so to speak :/ I'm kinda currently in the "corporation leadership should stop getting away with bad crap" mood

Liberty's Edge

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Still wondering why people think lawyers are the right kind of professionals to help a company work with its employees on how to improve their overall management process.

Especially considering such an expense is a pretty high investment. What is the return here ?

Silver Crusade

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Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
…they aggressively defend clients when facing allegations of harassment. What they prioritize is clear, and it's not coming to amicable solution.
Do you know if Paizo retained this law firm’s services in response to being served with notice of a lawsuit?
The discussion is about what the firm specializes in. That's what the firm prioritizes talking about when talking about employment law. Again this is an Occam's Razor situation. They say they focus on something in the first paragraph. In the next they talk about other things they are willing to do. This isn't a firm that specializes in DEIB, and makes no mention of striving to protect the rights of diverse groups, instead makes sure you know they're willing to fight if a minority group decides they deserve to not be discriminated against.
You didn’t answer my question.

Your question was not relevant to the conversation at hand and was an attempt to derail the conversation.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:

Still wondering why people think lawyers are the right kind of professionals to help a company work with its employees on how to improve their overall management process.

Especially considering such an expense is a pretty high investment. What is the return here?

Going out on a limb but because a very large part of a lawyer's job, especially a cooperate law firm on retainer is to advise the company on laws and how to be in compliance with them?

I get that most of us only get involved with lawyers while being defended by one or being defended against one, I'd never trust anyone advice on the legality of things that didn't have a law degree personally, that would be like trusting someone's opinion on medical issues that was just spouting off on a forum or Facebook.

Liberty's Edge

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Gamerskum wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Still wondering why people think lawyers are the right kind of professionals to help a company work with its employees on how to improve their overall management process.

Especially considering such an expense is a pretty high investment. What is the return here?

Going out on a limb but because a very large part of a lawyer's job, especially a cooperate law firm on retainer is to advise the company on laws and how to be in compliance with them?

I get that most of us only get involved with lawyers while being defended by one or being defended against one, I'd never trust anyone advice on the legality of things that didn't have a law degree personally, that would be like trusting someone's opinion on medical issues that was just spouting off on a forum or Facebook.

I agree 100%. But if the top management sees the current problems as a legality issue rather than one of corporate culture, it is both telling and troubling.


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Writing policy is always a legal issue.

Liberty's Edge

Gamerskum wrote:
Writing policy is always a legal issue.

I think the legal aspects, while existing, are less central to the issue than how the whole system works, how it affects people, and what can be done to improve it in a sustainable profitable way.

All of which are not a lawyer's professional forte.


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Hey, let's be fair, Raven. Maybe this law firm is really specialized in a relevant skillset. You know. Like DBEI.

Oh, wait. :P

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Weird how so many people are demanding that we take this in good faith when the executive team won't even pop in here to clarify exactly how they were led to this particular law firm.


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Cori Marie wrote:
Weird how so many people are demanding that we take this in good faith when the executive team won't even pop in here to clarify exactly how they were led to this particular law firm.

Paizo said they located this firm at the recommendation of a consultant with expertise in DBEI.

Liberty's Edge

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Trying to argue that the issues they're working toward documenting and investigating aren't in the wheelhouse of a lawyer/attorney/law firm is like saying that milk products aren't a specialty of cattle.

It's almost like some of you have no idea what you're talking about and just want to continue to rattle your saber despite the current course of action being the only actual ethical or responsible way to handle internal investigations.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Themetricsystem wrote:

Trying to argue that the issues they're working toward documenting and investigating aren't in the wheelhouse of a lawyer/attorney/law firm is like saying that milk products aren't a specialty of cattle.

It's almost like some of you have no idea what you're talking about and just want to continue to rattle your saber despite the current course of action being the only actual ethical or responsible way to handle internal investigations.

Nah. Nothing like that.

It's more akin to when someone says they specialize in 'vigorously' protecting corporations from frivolous lawsuits and pesky complaints that some of us listen and others don't.

Edited to add:
It's also about experience. Those of us who have been burned by Paizo's third party relationships and see how Paizo has handled the customers in comparison to holding those third party entities accountable have some back ground knowledge about how Paizo handles these situations in reality and not just in hypothetical situations.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Vardoc Bloodstone wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
Weird how so many people are demanding that we take this in good faith when the executive team won't even pop in here to clarify exactly how they were led to this particular law firm.
Paizo said they located this firm at the recommendation of a consultant with expertise in DBEI.

But again the website of the firm hired points in a different direction than expertise in DEIB. There's a vast difference in a firm that specializes in "aggressively defending" clients in cases of alleged discrimination and a firm that specializes in helping clients make DEIB focused policies. The law firm leads their site with the "aggressive defense." If it was the consultant that was specialized in DEIB and not the lawfirm, then it would be worth disclosing who the consultant was so that we could take this in better faith. The main thing with Paizo leadership is that they have severely damaged the trust of the fanbase over the last three months, so no, I don't see a lot of us just taking their word for it.


Pathfinder PF Special Edition Subscriber
TwilightKnight wrote:

The more I think on it, the less I care about the law firm. Unless someone files suit against Paizo for something criminal or even civil, the past is the past. I don't like it, but we cannot affect it. So, my eyes are looking forward and on the UPW. I want to see how the contract negotiations go and what benefits they can secure.

I fully expect the law firm to advise Paizo how to change their behavior to avoid future problems, but that will all occur behind closed doors with the executive team. However, the results of their negotiations with the UPW will be very public and we'll get some insight into what Paizo is going to look like moving forward. The very fact that this has become so public and there are a lot of very attentive eyes on Paizo that in an of itself means working conditions should improve. They cannot afford to even allow the appearance of mistreatment let alone an actual incident because it will be shouted from the mountaintop.

Its been nearly three weeks since the last posting by UPW. I wonder what is going on? They are small enough they should have been able to elect officers and determine their negotiation committee by now. Have they met as an entity to discuss and formalize their constitution? Have they submitted anything official to Paizo yet? Is there any progress towards negotiations at this time? Have they published a rough timeline of events? Yes, it takes some time to get everything done, but not too much. Momentum is an important thing in contract negotiations. The longer the process takes, the more momentum begins to dissipate.

I think the above is the only realistic view we can take on the situation.

The leadership team has lost the trust of an important part of the community, and the Nov 15 update has done little to restore it. Anyway, as several have correctly noted, restoring trust will require action, not words. So, unless it's to announce the results of action, we shouldn't expect any further communication from leadership. If they did communicate, for example, by explaining more about the choice of this law firm, it wouldn't placate anyone, quite the contrary.

The other interesting element is that the UPW has not seen fit to react publicly to this. Which makes sense, since any negotiation is best conducted behind closed doors until the parties agree. So, I don't think we should expect any news any time soon.

Liberty's Edge

Letting things simmer leads to quiet for some time. But it is far from helping resolve the issue.

It is as if Paizo (or at least the top management) had zero consideration for their community of fans.

Not that it surprises me. But they really underestimate their need for a strong community. After all, they cannot rely on a strong brand image and a strong community is the next best thing.

Grand Lodge

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The Raven Black wrote:
Still wondering why people think lawyers are the right kind of professionals to help a company work with its employees on how to improve their overall management process.

Its not necessarily, but given the claims that have been made there is certainly some basis for future litigation so it is very prudent for Paizo to hire a law firm to examine their exposure and start to mitigate it. If the same firm can also advise changes in corporate behavior to improve conditions for the employees, more the better. We have to remember that there are two related, but different issues at play: the ethical/moral one and the legal one. The former is the onus for much of the community outrage. The latter is unclear as we can only draw our conclusions on the commentary of individuals with self-interest*, hear-say, and innuendo.

I really couldn't care less if the firm they hired has all, some, or no experience specifically with DEIB. They are professional lawyers with an excellent reputation. I have no reason to question their credentials. At the end of the day, all I care about is that Paizo changes their corporate behavior so it is welcoming, fair and adequately compensatory environment where everyone is respected. I certainly don't trust Paizo to get there, but if I want to continue to enjoy the games they produce, I have to hope they finally make a change for the better. Otherwise, what the hell am I still doing here?

*I am not suggesting anyone is lying

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