Activision Blizzard has paid $18 million (£13.2 million) to resolve a sexual harassment complaint brought by a US federal employment monitor.
Sexual discrimination was also alleged by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the gaming firm.
It was one of several similar claims leveled against the firm, which is now the subject of a lawsuit brought by the state of California.
As part of the EEOC settlement, Activision continues to deny wrongdoing.
The deal was “part of its commitment to establish the most welcoming, inclusive workplace,” according to the firm, which develops hugely popular games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.
The Fallout Of The Settlement
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency in charge of enforcing employment discrimination statutes, not state legislation. It had been examining the gaming company since 2018, according to legal filings filed this week.
According to lawsuit documents, Activision Blizzard engaged in “unlawful employment practices” by subjecting “workers, individuals, or a group of employees to sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and/or associated retaliation.”
Activision had rejected any misconduct or culpability for damages, as well as the notion that “any of its rules and processes are insufficient.”
However, the settlement, which was filed in a California District Court on Monday, settles the issue, allowing the parties to “avoid the expenditure, distraction, and potential litigation associated with such a dispute.”
Any money left over from the compensation fund will be donated to non-profit organizations that promote women and gender equality in the video gaming and technology industries, according to the firm.
In a long press statement announcing the settlement, Activision stated that it will build software and training programs “to enhance workplace standards and practices for businesses across the technology sector.”
Blizzard Puts A Hard Foot Down For The Future
“There is no place at our organization for discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any sort,” Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said. “I am thankful to the workers who boldly shared their stories.”
“I am sorry if anyone was subjected to improper behavior, and I am committed to making Activision Blizzard one of the most inclusive, respected, and respectful companies in the world.”
“In our commitment to the eradication of workplace harassment and discrimination, we will remain watchful.” We appreciate the EEOC’s constructive involvement as we seek to meet our promises to eliminate improper workplace behavior.”
However, the EEOC lawsuit is only one of several that Activision Blizzard is dealing with in regards to sexual harassment and discrimination accusations.
Following a two-year investigation, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed legal action against the firm in July. It accuses the company and several of its male workers of rampant sexual harassment, referring to the culture as “frat boy.”
Following that case, some Activision stockholders filed lawsuits against the company in August, accusing it of hiding the negative accusations from shareholders.
Communication Workers of America, a workers’ rights organization, has filed a complaint with the US National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the company has “threatened employees that they cannot talk about or communicate about wages, hours, and working conditions,” and that the company has “prevented the discussion of workplace activities protected by law.”