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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Thanks so much, Raychael. :)

13 people marked this as a favorite.

We can have differing viewpoints on lots of things; transgender peoples’ right to exist and not work in a discriminatory environment is not one of them.

He'll be gone soon.

Wayfinders Contributor

14 people marked this as a favorite.

Seeing Heather's no-nonsense post gives me hope for future corporate change.


23 people marked this as a favorite.

The idea that wanting those responsible for tangible workplace discrimination against transgender people to be removed from power is some kind of bloodthirsty crusade to kill Paizo and not an intentionally-cultivated queer fanbase asking for real people to not be hurt is absurd. I don’t want Paizo to harm its workers the way it has in the past.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The other 'hidden' aspect to the 'rooming' issue is this:

"Hey, Jason, we're a bit tight on cash, James said it'd be cool to room with you, you cool with rooming with him?"

Now there's a lever of 'Reasonableness' -- does Jason room with James, because it saves the company money?

Does Jason stick to the room policy -- and as a result James can't go to the convention?

It's a mess and the fix will probably be as bad OR worse because the underlying issue is only being viewed as a 'perception' and 'possibly, maybe, there might be a chance that...'.

I picked the names above for a specific reason -- if we remove the transphobic aspect and just address the basic concern, it makes for a horribly awkward situation.

WITH outright intolerance, passive or not?

I can't see this helping in any way, shape, or form.

Still processing the rest.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I believe the room policy has been changed to no shared rooms at all going forward, unless I’m mistaken.

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, keftiu, which seems a little silly to me, but I'm glad convention-going employees will be getting their own rooms! I just hope that's something employees actually wanted, and not just Jeff's awkward bandaid on company's transphobic policies. Like, if it halves the number of employees going to cons, so only the established company veterans get to go... oof. You're close to going right back to "no trans girls getting sent to conventions".

Silver Crusade

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That's what Wei Ji is saying, now it's likely to prevent staff from going at all as the expenses will double.

24 people marked this as a favorite.

When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

When you're used to doing whatever you like, consequences feel like a pitchfork-bearing mob.

And when you're accustomed to mindlessly and uncritically consuming a company's product and brand without thinking about how the workers who made the product might have been treated, seeing others who care about those issues criticizing the company over them probably feels a lot like watching people set your house on fire for no reason save naked malice.

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