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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This is the last post I'll be making here until the mods wake up tomorrow. I will say, first, that nobody's called for a boycott. We're waiting for the Union to make any decisions like that, and I don't expect the Union to call for one. In the meantime, we're just making our own decisions and advocating for what we believe in.

But more importantly--and this applies to a lot of you--I have a question.

When called out on your initial baiting or hyperconfrontational posts, so many of you appear to backtrack. You clarify that no, of course you don't support doxxing. Of course you oppose transphobia. Of course you support our right to make our own decisions as customers, and of course the executives were wrong to fire Sara. Of course these issues are worth advocating on to some degree.

But if that's the case, and you truly do support trans rights, and we truly do agree on most of the issues, and we really are aligned in wanting the leadership to do better...

... why are you screaming at us?

Scarab Sages Contributor

22 people marked this as a favorite.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

This is the last post I'll be making here until the mods wake up tomorrow. I will say, first, that nobody's called for a boycott. We're waiting for the Union to make any decisions like that, and I don't expect the Union to call for one. In the meantime, we're just making our own decisions and advocating for what we believe in.

But more importantly--and this applies to a lot of you--I have a question.

When called out on your initial baiting or hyperconfrontational posts, so many of you appear to backtrack. You clarify that no, of course you don't support doxxing. Of course you oppose transphobia. Of course you support our right to make our own decisions as customers, and of course the executives were wrong to fire Sara.

But if that's the case, and you truly do support trans rights, and we truly do agree on most of the issues, and we really are aligned in wanting the leadership to do better...

... why are you screaming at us?

Quick aside: a boycott already happened, for anyone who missed it (in a sense). Those freelancers with active projects who were able refused to turn over any work, nor take any new assignments until the union was recognized. That was one of the three pillars that got the UPW on its feet, in my opinion (the other two being community outcry and the union's members themselves).

Paizo came out on the other side of that just fine. The strike lasted a good while. If RD wants to worry about us hurting the poor innocent company, that's fine. If RD wants to refuse to worry about the people who actually make the content? Then...don't really know what to say to that besides he needs to get over himself.

For everyone at home, RD is, in his own words, worried that public outcry might damage the products he loves. Funny, how he ignores the facts that the conditions of the people who create said products is highly damaging and dehumanizing. But what's the difference, right? It's not like these creators and employees are burning out, being fired, or seeking greener pastures, right?

Oh wait. They are.

But sure. It's the people worried about the developers that are the problem. Long live Paizo, whatever

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Its literally the same mechanism that resulted in the doxxing incident with Jeff.

I have to disagree. The COO intentionally looking at your account, pulling your personal data and then sharing it with the public without your consent is not the same as you creating a character, getting a temporary name field filled by your name, you not changing it to something else (intentionally or forgetfully), like maybe the character's actual name, and then clicking on "submit changes." At some point, we have to take personal responsibility for our own actions. Would it be better for Paizo to use something other than your name like a random character generator? Sure, and they probably should, but its not doxxing. Not even in the same galaxy.


13 people marked this as a favorite.

As a reminder: report, screenshot, and email.

Let's try and keep these forums from turning into a place for hatred.

Wayfinders Contributor

13 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey all, rather than make more work for the moderator team, why don't we try the following:

1) Report problematic posts as Heather outlined;
2) Flag.

Hmm

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Superscriber
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Hey all, rather than make more work for the moderator team, why don't we try the following:

1) Report problematic posts as Heather outlined;
2) Flag.

Hmm

I will gladly do so. Thank you.

Grand Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
I believe the room policy has been changed to no shared rooms at all going forward, unless I’m mistaken.

Sounds like it, though i have a related question. Since the Organized Play Foundation is clearly a smoke and mirrors ploy for Paizo to try and hide from tax and/or employment ramifications of its huge volunteer base, AND virtually all the leaders of the Foundation are Paizo executives/managers, AND the volunteers include a good number of LGBTQ+ members (specifically trans since it directly relates to the topic at hand), does that mean they will all be getting their own rooms too? If not, why? If the solution to Paizo's problem with trans-nontrans hotel room interaction is to have the staff get separate rooms (rather than just treat everyone the equally), then I guess the volunteers get to continue to follow the old Paizo policy which is clearly transphobic? Hmmm

Horizon Hunters

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TwilightKnight wrote:
keftiu wrote:
I believe the room policy has been changed to no shared rooms at all going forward, unless I’m mistaken.
Sounds like it, though i have a related question. Since the Organized Play Foundation is clearly a smoke and mirrors ploy for Paizo to try and hide from tax and/or employment ramifications of its huge volunteer base, AND virtually all the leaders of the Foundation are Paizo executives/managers, AND the volunteers include a good number of LGBTQ+ members (specifically trans since it directly relates to the topic at hand), does that mean they will all be getting their own rooms too? If not, why? If the solution to Paizo's problem with trans-nontrans hotel room interaction is to have the staff get separate rooms (rather than just treat everyone the equally), then I guess the volunteers get to continue to follow the old Paizo policy which is clearly transphobic? Hmmm

That’s a great observation, TK - I didn’t even think about that.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Ruzza wrote:

As a reminder: report, screenshot, and email.

Let's try and keep these forums from turning into a place for hatred.

The best antidote to this is banning those who give voice to hatred.

Wayfinders Contributor

9 people marked this as a favorite.

TwilightKnight,

One thing that I appreciated when you ran roommate selection at GenCon as a volunteer is that you pretty much let me room with whomever so long as we all agreed. One of my best experiences was rooming with Jen and Rigby. I learned so much about being an ally, and they learned that an enforced lights out time (cause I need sleep) meant that we could all crawl to our morning games with some modicum of energy.

Hugs,
Hmm


10 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

As a reminder: report, screenshot, and email.

Let's try and keep these forums from turning into a place for hatred.

The best antidote to this is banning those who give voice to hatred.

It would go a long way to getting people back to these forums, especially newer players who have recently discovered PF2. I can definitely say that most of my player group refuse to interact with the forums because of what they have become. A real shame given the errata, ruling advice, and occasional good interaction.

Silver Crusade

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

Calling a bigot a bigot is not an insult.

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