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Activision Blizzard To Settle for $18 million in Discrimination Lawsuit

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Activision Blizzard agrees to pay $18 million to victims in a workplace harassment and discrimination lawsuit.

Santa Monica, CAActivision Blizzard has agreed to pay $18 million to settle a workplace discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Workers employed by the video game giant after September 2016 and believe that they experienced harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be eligible to apply for a share of the settlement.

The EEOC in July 2021 filed the lawsuit after a three-year investigation into a number of employee complaints about unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. It found that the company failed to take corrective and preventive measures on sexual harassment complaints, according to a filing in the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California, and reported by Reuters

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleged that Blizzard Entertainment (a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard) fostered a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture” where managers led employees on drunken “cube crawls” to harass and grope female employees, where pay discrimination was rampant, and where those who spoke up against the behavior were punished.

And the Wall Street Journal last November reported that Bobby Kotick, the longtime Activision Blizzard CEO, knew for years about sexual-misconduct complaints, including alleged rapes, but he chose not to  inform the board of directors about everything he knew, even after regulators began investigating the incidents in 2018. In September 2021 he was subpoenaed in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into how the company handled reports of misconduct and disclosed them to the public. One day after the WSJ reported the subpoeana, Activision issued a press release titled "Update on workplace initiatives" that states "we continue to work in good faith with regulators to address and resolve past workplace issues, we also continue to move ahead with our own initiatives to ensure that we are the very best place to work. We remain committed to addressing all workplace issues in a forthright and prompt manner."

More Sexual Harassment Lawsuits


Meanwhile, several employees have also filed sexual harassment lawsuits against their employer. Lisa Bloom, an attorney for several female employees who have filed complaints said her clients describe a corporate culture of sexual harassment and assault, and one current employee said she was subjected to frequent sexual advances. Another woman said she “suffered sexual harassment, sexual battery and sexual assaults by [her] managers and supervisors,” including on business trips. “When I tried to rebuff their sexual advances, I was reprimanded, ridiculed and threatened with retaliation.” And a third woman said in a news conference that she’s dealt with sexual and emotional abuse at Activision, and that one abuser told her that going to human resources would be pointless, reported the Los Angeles Times (March 29, 2022).

Blizzard employee Christine made public in an Instagram video the sexual harassment she has put up with over four years, but her career started out as a "dream job." Bloom demands from Blizzard an “expanded victim compensation fund in excess of $100M,” a real apology to Christine and the many other victims, and a neutral, third-party review “of the career damage employees like Christine have endured.”

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