My Geek Score: The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Activision Blizzard last week, and the company agreed to pay $18 million to resolve it.
The $18 million will be used to compensate workers who have been subjected to sexual harassment, sex discrimination, or retaliation while working for the video game publisher in California.
Any money left over will be divided between charities that promote women in the video game business or raise awareness around harassment and gender equality problems, according to Activision Blizzard.
The EEOC settlement, announced in July, is connected to a complaint filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against Activision.
DFEH authorities said that the firm has a “frat boy” working culture in which male workers “banter about their sexual experiences, talk freely about female bodies, and rape joke,” according to their lawsuit.
According to DFEH, the complaint comes from a three-year study of Activision, which found that female employees were frequently allocated lower-paying roles, experienced hurdles to advancement, and was more likely to be dismissed.
EEOC officials said they discovered comparable wrongdoing during Activision’s three-year probe. According to the settlement agreements, the business will engage an EEOC-approved independent administrator to ensure that the $18 million awards are paid to qualified workers.
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick issued a letter apologizing to workers who had been subjected to discrimination and promising to make the business one of the world’s most inclusive, respected, and respectful workplaces.
Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft are just a few of Activision’s popular titles. The firm originated as two independent companies, Activision and Blizzard, which merged in 2008 with now-defunct Vivendi Games, Blizzard’s previous parent company. According to court records, the firm employs roughly 9,500 people globally, with women accounting for 20% of the workforce.
Since the DFEH investigation emerged, several key executives at Activision have departed the firm. The Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Activision for disclosures on employment concerns and related topics. In contrast, the Communications Workers of America has sued the firm for allegedly preventing employees from organizing.