The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit against Activision Blizzard has officially ended in a settlement, with U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer today approving the previously $18 million settlement propose.
The settlement creates an avenue for current and former Activision Blizzard employees who worked at the company between now and September 2016 to submit a grievance regarding sexual harassment, pay or promotion disparity, and discrimination against pregnant staff to potentially receive part of the compensation. funds.
However, as The Washington Post points out, participation in the fund could complicate further attempts by current and former Activision Blizzard staff to seek legal recourse against the company for those same experiences.
Along with the fund, and according to an Activision Blizzard press release, the settlement requires the company to “continue to improve policies, practices, and training” relating to workplace harassment and discrimination prevention, hire an EEOC-approved third party and equal employment opportunity consultant and hire an in-house EEO coordinator (which Activision Blizzard accomplished via a hire earlier this month.)
“The agreement we reached with the EEOC last year reflects our unwavering commitment to ensuring a safe and fair work environment for all employees,” reads a statement from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. , who himself has been accused of allowing abusive behavior within the company.
Elsewhere in the press release, Activision Blizzard notes that it has taken several steps to improve its workplace culture, including a strengthened ethics and compliance team, programs to facilitate better hiring and promotion practices, and a zero-tolerance policy for harassment (implemented in the weeks before the aforementioned accusations regarding Kotick came to light).
“Our goal is to make Activision Blizzard a model for the industry, and we will continue to focus on eliminating harassment and discrimination in our workplace,” Kotick continues. “The court’s approval of this settlement is an important step in ensuring that our employees have recourse mechanisms if they experience any form of harassment or retaliation.”
The $18 million settlement itself was first proposed in September 2021, just a day after the EEOC filed its lawsuit seeking to “correct unlawful gender-based employment practices and provide appropriate reparation to a class of individuals who have been harmed by such practices”. At the time, Activision Blizzard suggested that such a settlement would allow it to “make amends to eligible claimants” while avoiding the “expenses, distractions and potential litigation” that the allegations could cause.
While the settlement ends a lawsuit against the publisher of Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard is notably facing several others on the same theme as the EEOC case. In the past few months alone, Activision Blizzard has been named in lawsuits filed by a former employee alleging a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination and a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of an employee who died by suicide at the following alleged sexual harassment during his time at Activision Blizzard. .
Additionally, the original California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit is still ongoing and will continue despite DFEH’s concern that the EEOC settlement will complicate its own proceedings. However, individuals who choose to participate in the EEOC settlement would waive their rights to participate in the DFEH lawsuit on the three specific issues referred to in the EEOC settlement: sexual harassment, disparity in pay or promotions, and discrimination against pregnant staff.