Ever since the Supreme Court declared that Rowe vs. Wade was no longer the law of the land, Americans began to turn to another institution to protect their lives: their employer. The tech and gaming industry is no different. Employees at Nvidia, which is headquartered in Silicon Valley but has offices in other states, have been disappointed that the graphics card maker hasn’t taken a stand on their right to vital health care.
The chip giant’s employees expected more from Nvidia because it had previously supported causes such as pride and female leadership. One source who spoke to Kotaku On condition of anonymity, he recalled that the company took the initiative to relocate employees who worked outside of Ukraine during the invasion. “Many tech companies [think] there is a kind of cost-benefit analysis when we take a stand on things like [abortion],” said the current Nvidia employee. Kotaku. “[They] I don’t want to be in politics.” Another frustrated employee wanted a “clear signal from above” and a “substantial response” to recent legal attacks on transgender rights and abortion. Kotaku contacted Nvidia about its stance on abortion rights, but received no response as of press time.
Guaranteed access to abortion has become a major concern for employees because the GPU maker has offices in trigger states like Texas and Missouri, and some employees have raised concerns in the company’s Slack channels. “At the beginning [Roe being struck down]most of something [Slack] the messages were: “We just want management to say that we know this is affecting our employees,” a current Nvidia employee said. “People in Missouri and Texas are looking for details about what help they can get.”
Kotaku was able to get screenshots from the Women in Technology Resource Group channel on Nvidia’s corporate Slack server. One employee said: “I personally already know at least one employee who has to organize and pay for their relocation in accordance with these laws. [against abortion]”. Another was “shocked by the lack of corporate communication” due to Nvidia’s expansion in Austin, Texas. At the time of writing, the company lists 253 open positions Texas has the most job openings anywhere outside of California. The company also has offices in Alabama and Utah, where abortions are either illegal or will be available only to victims of rape.
The chair of the women’s resource group at Nvidia approached HR about this and then relayed the following response to the group: “Management is aware and we also recommend that you use the suggestion box.” One employee indicated that they already have an entire thread dedicated to this issue and expressed frustration that employees had to take the initiative “in their free time”.
ZeniMax is another technology company angered employees due to his failure to immediately support employees in the states of the trigger law. But while the publisher’s response has not been timely or adequate, affected Nvidia employees are still waiting for their leaders to take action at all over their loss of reproductive rights.
“Personally, I would like management to say that [they’re] going to do everything [they] can make sure our insurance continues to cover it,” said a current employee Kotaku. The employee noted that Nvidia health insurance covers the cost of out-of-state abortions, but expressed concern that abortion support was left to a third party that did not consider the best interests of employees. They also raised concerns about the possibility that the insurance company might change its policy or that Nvidia might switch to an insurance plan that does not cover abortion. “I would appreciate some sort of commitment from management to do everything they can to make sure we have coverage in place in case someone needs it.”
Update as of 07/07/2022 5:19 PM ET: An Nvidia representative gave the following comment:
We remain focused on supporting the health and wellness needs of our employees and their families. We will continue to help employees in need medical travel, including travel reimbursement.