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Activision Blizzard to pay $54 million to settle California state workplace discrimination claims

by Lucas Garcia
4 comments
Workplace Discrimination Settlement

Activision Blizzard has consented to a settlement of approximately $54 million to resolve workplace discrimination claims initiated by California’s civil rights agency, acting on behalf of female employees within the video game company.

This settlement, pending court approval, addresses allegations of gender discrimination leveled against the publisher of popular video games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft. The California Civil Rights Department, in its late Friday announcement, stated that these allegations included instances where the company “discriminated against women at the company, including denying promotion opportunities and paying them less than men for doing substantially similar work.”

In 2021, accusations of workplace discrimination adversely impacted Activision’s stock value, ultimately opening the door for Microsoft’s takeover bid in January 2022. Microsoft, the proprietor of the Xbox gaming system, successfully completed its $69 billion acquisition of Activision in October, overcoming global opposition from antitrust regulators and competitors.

California’s civil rights agency filed a lawsuit against Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard in July 2021, alleging that female employees endured ongoing sexual harassment, with few women attaining leadership positions. When they did, they received lower salaries, incentives, and overall compensation compared to their male counterparts.

Employees openly voiced their concerns about harassment and discrimination, signing petitions criticizing the company’s defensive response to the lawsuit and organizing walkouts.

According to the terms of the settlement, women who were employed by the company between October 12, 2015, and December 31, 2020, either as regular hires or independent contractors, may be eligible for compensation. The state agency has allocated approximately $45.75 million of the settlement for such payments.

In addition to the financial settlement, Activision Blizzard has committed to implementing measures to ensure fair pay and promotion practices within the company. Activision Blizzard expressed its acknowledgment of the importance of the issues addressed in this agreement and its dedication to fully implementing the new obligations resulting from it in a statement released on Saturday.

It’s worth noting that the California Civil Rights Department agreed to file an amended complaint that withdraws the sexual harassment allegations in conjunction with this settlement.

The settlement agreement explicitly states that no court or independent investigation has substantiated any allegations of systemic or widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard. Furthermore, there are no claims that the company’s board of directors and CEO acted improperly or ignored or tolerated a culture of harassment, retaliation, or discrimination.

In a related development, in September 2021, Activision settled sexual harassment and discrimination claims brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As part of that settlement, the company established an $18 million fund to compensate individuals who had experienced harassment or discrimination.

Earlier this year, the company also reached a $35 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over charges related to its failure to maintain controls for collecting and evaluating workplace complaints with regard to disclosure requirements, as well as violations of federal whistleblower protection rules. Activision, in agreeing to the settlement, neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but consented to a cease-and-desist order.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Workplace Discrimination Settlement

What were the allegations against Activision Blizzard in the discrimination claims?

The allegations against Activision Blizzard involved claims of gender discrimination, including denial of promotion opportunities and unequal pay for women compared to men doing similar work. It was also alleged that female employees faced sexual harassment and were underrepresented in leadership roles.

How much is Activision Blizzard paying to settle these claims?

Activision Blizzard has agreed to pay approximately $54 million to settle the discrimination claims brought by California’s civil rights agency.

Who is eligible for compensation under the settlement?

Women who worked for Activision Blizzard between October 12, 2015, and December 31, 2020, as regular employees or independent contractors, may be eligible for compensation from the settlement fund, which has set aside around $45.75 million for this purpose.

What steps is Activision Blizzard taking to address the issue?

As part of the settlement, Activision Blizzard has committed to implementing measures to ensure fair pay and promotion practices within the company.

Were the sexual harassment allegations substantiated by any investigation?

The settlement agreement explicitly states that no court or independent investigation has substantiated any allegations of systemic or widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard.

What other legal actions has Activision Blizzard faced regarding workplace issues?

In addition to this settlement, Activision Blizzard settled sexual harassment and discrimination claims brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to workplace complaint controls and federal whistleblower protection rules.

More about Workplace Discrimination Settlement

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4 comments

gamer123 December 17, 2023 - 1:09 am

wow, Activision Blizzard in big trouble 54 million for discrimination! gender issue big deal, need 2 fix it!

Reply
newsJunkie December 17, 2023 - 4:44 am

Activision, EEOC, SEC settlements, seems like ongoing workplace problems, bad rep 4 them!

Reply
moneyMan December 17, 2023 - 10:40 am

$54 million payout, Activision stock down, bad news 4 them, but Microsoft buyout, interesting twist, hmmm.

Reply
employeeX December 17, 2023 - 7:13 pm

they say no court prove sexual harassment, but so many complaints, hard 2 believe!

Reply

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