Activision Blizzard has agreed to pay $18 million as part of a settlement in a case brought by a federal agency alleging discrimination and sexual misconduct. That’s just 0.5 percent of Activision Blizzard’s total revenue for 2020.
Activision Blizzard has agreed to pay $18 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit
The organization will also comply with anti-discriminatory legislation and ensure that its workplace is free of harassment, prejudice, and retaliation behaviors. The remaining money will be donated to organizations dedicated to the advancement of women in the gaming and tech industries, as well as other efforts intended to enhance Activision Blizzard’s internal diversity programs. Activision Blizzard’s record for a single year was $8.1 billion in sales, implying 0.22 percent of its entire 2020 income.
The lawsuit started three years ago
The agreement was announced hours after the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against the firm in the US District Court of Central California on September 27. The complaint, in this case, alleged that female workers had been subjected to sex-based discrimination and harassment, including pregnancy and wage discrimination when compared to male employees, as well as those who complained about bias being fired.
The lawsuit was the result of a probe by the government watchdog group that began in September 2018 following allegations made in September 2016. Employees had allegedly been the victims of sexual harassment at their place of work.
According to the EEOC, Activision Blizzard ignored employees’ complaints of abuse and refused to take action or provide relief. Employees who complained about pregnancy discrimination were subject to “constructive discharge,” according to the agency. In June, the agency notified Activision Blizzard of its findings.
The filing confirms that Activision Blizzard was cooperative throughout nearly three years of investigation, but no satisfactory settlement to end workplace harassment and provide appropriate relief to affected staff was possible after “extensive conciliation conversations.”
Terms of the settlement also require Activision Blizzard to improve its company policies, practices, and training procedures for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and maintain compliance with the agreement, and it will be subjected to routine assessments by the EEOC in the future.
Activision Blizzard will face some legal issues in the near future
Activision Blizzard’s president left nearly a month ago following a new lawsuit filed against the company. Now the gaming studio has agreed to settle the EEOC’s lawsuit, but it still faces a slew of litigation from various parties. The California State Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the company in June for additional sex discrimination and harassment charges, allegations that Activision Blizzard executives dubbed “distorted and in many cases false.”
The company’s response led to an internal petition from the employees. The petition complained about leadership, and in July an employee walked out in protest. In August, Activision Blizzard was sued in a class-action lawsuit filed by investors who claimed they had been “economically damaged” by executives’ failure to disclose information about the California state harassment case, which led to “artificially inflated” share prices.
It was announced earlier this month that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is conducting its own investigation. The commission is investigating how the firm has handled recent claims of misconduct and prejudice. Since August, a number of Activision Blizzard personnel have left the firm, including Blizzard President J. Allen Brack and chief legal officer Claire Hart.