Discrimination: Activision Blizzard settles lawsuit for $54 million

The final statement from the civil rights department only mentions the degraded working conditions for women within Activision Blizzard. The original complaint, however, stipulated that “women were subjected to numerous sexual comments and advances, unwanted groping and touching, and other forms of harassment“. The legal history of the publisher is therefore rather softened, despite obvious ill will during the investigation, including the generous use of non-disclosure agreements to silence its employees and the destruction of certain crucial documents (according to the state of California).

  • Also read | Activision Blizzard employees massively condemn their management

Regardless, Activision Blizzard gets away with a check for $54 million, of which $45.75 million goes to a compensation fund for workers employed between 2015 and 2020. The administration will contact the individuals concerned. The remaining money must be donated to associations or charitable organizations fighting for sex and gender equality at work. An agreement similar to the one made, in September 2021, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: the Kotick house then donated $18 million to justice and charities.

They don’t look too unhappy

A spokesperson reacted in the columns of Game Developer, rejoicing at the disappearance of the mentions “incendiaries“regarding sexual harassment.”We fully appreciate the importance of the issues raised in this agreement and are committed to implementing all new obligations arising from it. We want our employees to know that – as the agreement specifies – we are committed to providing fair pay and promotions for all of our employees, and will maintain our efforts to include qualified candidates from underrepresented communities.

The main legal threat hovering over Activision Blizzard, this Californian complaint had seriously damaged the company’s stock price, opening the door to its takeover by Xbox earlier this year. Another consequence, numerous departures (voluntary or forced) of executives from the publisher, including Luis Barriga and Jesse McCree (respectively director and chief designer on Diablo IV). CEO J. Allen Brack resigned in August 202, two weeks after the Civil Rights Department’s complaint.

Finally, remember that Activision Blizzard has already been found guilty of illegally depriving unionized workers of their salary increases. The ABK Workers Alliance union is currently fighting against the mandatory return to face-to-face work for QA employees, citing physical constraints (disability, immunosuppression) or economic constraints (remote workers not being able to find accommodation near the premises). “Many employees hired during 100% remote living live far from offices. Affected employees remaining in the company experience significant travel times with a high financial impact due to the price of gasoline. […] As some employees are forced to leave the company without planned replacements, their workload will fall on their colleagues, increasing their stress and decreasing the final quality of the products.

  • Also read | Five former Ubisoft officers placed in police custody as part of sexual harassment investigation

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