Activision pays $54 million to settle discrimination

Activision Blizzard has been under fire for several years for allegedly “boys club” content. Corporate culture. and now, The Wall Street Journal It reports that the game-making company will pay roughly $54 million to settle a sexism and harassment lawsuit in 2021 — the same lawsuit that reportedly cost Microsoft $69 billion. call of duty And Overwatch Who was the publisher? It finally turned green in October after an 18-month legal battle.

In a statement to KotakuAn Activision Blizzard spokesperson shared more background on the settlement:

We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the California Department of Civil Rights (CRD) today, as CRD has now announced in a press release. We appreciate the importance of the matters addressed in this Agreement and are committed to fully implementing all new obligations we have undertaken as part of it. We want our employees to know that, as the Agreement specifies, we are committed to ensuring fair compensation and promotion policies and practices for all of our employees, and to our efforts to include qualified candidates from underrepresented communities in outreach, recruitment, and keep

We are also pleased that CRD has agreed to file an amended complaint that fully withdraws its 2021 allegations of widespread and systematic workplace harassment at Activision Blizzard. As CRD expressly acknowledges in the settlement agreement, “CRD, along with a proposed consent decree, files a second amended complaint alleging, among other allegations and causes of action, a fifth cause of action—”employment discrimination—based on sex. – withdraws “harassment.” As CRD also expressly acknowledges in the settlement, “no court or independent investigation has established any allegation of systematic or widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard.” Additionally, the CRD has acknowledged that no court or independent investigation has investigated allegations that Activision Blizzard’s board of directors, including its chief executive Robert Kotick, acted improperly in handling workplace misconduct cases. has not proven

The California Department of Civil Rights (CRD) sued Activision in 2021, alleging that the company’s leadership deliberately ignored employee complaints about wage disparity, sexual and gender harassment, and discrimination.

In a Press release On Friday, the CRD indicated that the game publisher would implement steps to ensure fairer standards for compensation and advancement. “Activision Blizzard will take additional steps to help ensure fair pay and promotion practices at the company and provide monetary relief to women who were employed or contracted in California between October 12, 2015 and December 31, 2020,” an agency representative wrote. . This agreement is still subject to court approval.

Activision has repeatedly denied the allegations. The representatives of the company have also claimed that a Internal research It was concluded by its board of directors that the allegations against the company were unfounded. When the Microsoft acquisition closed earlier this year, longtime Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was asked to Stay two more monthsuntil the end of 2023.

According to Journalwhich broke the story about the settlement, the state of California had initially assessed Activision’s liability for a much higher amount.

The state estimated Activision’s liability in 2021 at nearly $1 billion to 2,500 employees who may have claims against the company, court documents show. Activision had about 13,000 employees by the end of 2022.

Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Journal It goes on to claim that the state agencies were “initially seeking a much larger amount than the settlement Riot Games paid earlier this year to settle its lawsuit.” That issued a verdict in May 2023 Similar complaints touched on workplace culture and led to a $100 million settlement for the plaintiffs

This article has been updated to include statements from Activision and the California Department of Civil Rights.

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