Activision pays $54 million to settle discrimination lawsuit

Activision Blizzard has been the subject of scrutiny for several years, due to its alleged “boys club.” Corporate culture. And now, The Wall Street Journal Reports indicate the embattled gaming company will pay nearly $54 million to settle a 2021 gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit — the same lawsuit that apparently prompted Microsoft’s $69 billion takeover. Call of duty And Observation and monitoring The publisher that was Finally it is green lit In October after an 18-month legal battle.

In a statement to KotakuAn Activision Blizzard spokesperson shared more context about the settlement:

We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the California Department of Civil Rights (CRD) today, the CRD has now announced in a press release. We appreciate the importance of the issues addressed in this agreement and are committed to fully implementing all the new commitments we have undertaken as part of it. We want our employees to know that, as the Agreement outlines, we are committed to ensuring fair compensation and promotion policies and practices for all of our employees, and we will continue our efforts regarding the inclusion of qualified candidates from underrepresented communities in outreach, hiring, and retention.

We are also pleased that CRD has agreed to file an amended complaint that completely withdraws its 2021 allegations alleging widespread and systemic workplace harassment at Activision Blizzard. As CRD expressly acknowledged in the agreement, “CRD files together with the proposed Consent Decree a Second Amended Complaint that withdraws, among other allegations and causes of action, the Fifth Cause of Action – “Employment Discrimination – Because of Sex – Harassment.” As DRC also explicitly acknowledged in the agreement, “No court or independent investigation has substantiated any allegations of systematic or widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard.” Additionally, DRC acknowledged that no court or independent investigation has substantiated any allegations of systematic or widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard. Allegations that “the Activision Blizzard Board of Directors, including its CEO, Robert Kotick, acted inappropriately in connection with the handling of any instances of workplace misconduct.”

The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) sued Activision again in 2021, alleging that the company’s leadership intentionally ignored employee complaints about pay disparity, harassment based on sex and gender, and discrimination.

in press release On Friday, CRD indicated that the game publisher would implement steps to ensure fairer standards of compensation and progression. “Activision Blizzard will take additional steps to help ensure fair pay and promotion practices at the company and provide financial relief to women who were employees or contract workers in California between October 12, 2015 and December 31, 2020,” a representative for the agency wrote. . The agreement is still subject to court approval.

Activision has repeatedly denied these accusations. Company representatives have also claimed that Internal investigation Its board of directors concluded that the allegations against the company were baseless. When the Microsoft acquisition closed earlier this year, longtime Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was asked to Stay for another two monthsuntil the end of 2023.

According to the magazinewhich revealed the story of the settlement, the state of California had initially estimated Activision’s liability at a much larger amount.

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

Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter,… magazine It goes on to claim that government agencies “initially sought an amount significantly larger than the settlement paid by Riot Games earlier this year to settle the lawsuit.” Which Judgment in May 2023 It touched on similar injustices related to workplace culture and resulted in a $100 million settlement For plaintiffs.

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

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