Activision Blizzard’s $18 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been approved in federal court.
Last September, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, accusing the company of being responsible for employees facing sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and related retaliation. The parties agreed to a settlement of $18 million.
At the time, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing also filed a lawsuit against the company, formally opposing the settlement, arguing that it could cause irreparable damage to its ongoing legal action.
Today, however, federal courts allow the settlement to pass, and some non-monetary conditions need to be met as part of the settlement.
As part of the agreement with the EEOC, Activision agreed not only to establish an $18 million fund to compensate eligible claimants, but to continue to strengthen policies, practices and training to prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and to expand performance reviews by implementing system.
Companies must also engage a neutral third-party equal employment opportunity consultant who must be approved by the EEOC. This person will continue to monitor the company’s compliance with the agreement, and their findings will be reported directly to the EEOC and Activision Blizzard’s boards of directors.
As part of the settlement, Activision Blizzard was also required to hire an equal employment opportunity coordinator with relevant experience in gender discrimination, harassment and related retaliation to assist the company. The company hired Stacy Jackson for the position. Jackson joined the company on March 16.
“The agreement we reached with the EEOC last year reflects our unwavering commitment to ensuring a safe and fair work environment for all employees,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “Our goal is to make Activision Blizzard a model for the industry, and we remain committed to eliminating harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
“The court’s approval of this settlement is an important step in ensuring that our employees have recourse mechanisms in the event of any form of harassment or retaliation. We are pleased that the federal court reviewing our settlement with the EEOC found it to be fair, reasonable, and Adequate and promote the public interest.
“Approval is an important step in our process to ensure that everyone at Activision Blizzard always feels safe, heard and empowered. We hope that the court’s findings – including what it believes to be the many objections raised to our settlement are inaccurate and speculative The — will “eliminate any confusion that may exist. After all settlement terms have been reviewed and approved, we can move forward,” Kotick concluded.
Since the various allegations of sexism, harassment and discrimination stemming from a lawsuit brought against it by the state of California came to light, the company has instituted a “zero tolerance policy” for harassment and retaliation, and its ethics and compliance team has significantly increased its response to Investing in relevant training, increasing transparency through a new Pay Equity and Diversity Representation Report, and donating $1 million to Women in Games International to drive women’s success in the global games industry.
The company also dropped required arbitration for individual sexual harassment and discrimination claims, launching a new tool that tracks the representation and presence of female and minority candidates at the applicant, interview and recruiting stages for every hire Data, tougher alcohol policies across the company due to reports of rampant parties, the recent launch of a feedback program that helps over 90% of managers receive personal feedback, and the launch of a paid training program aimed at Teach participants game development and prepare project participants for engineering roles.
Back in October 2021, Activision set a goal to increase the percentage of women and nonbinary employees by 50 percent over the next five years. It also pledged to invest $250 million over the next 10 years in initiatives that foster more gaming and technology opportunities for underrepresented communities.
The settlement with the EEOC is just the latest news for the company, which has already seen many milestones in this situation. Sice California filed its first lawsuit against the company, with CEO Bobby Kotick being subpoenaed as the SEC investigates Activision Blizzard’s workplace misconduct against shareholders, suing the company for concealing a sexual harassment investigation before it became mainstream. Recently, a current employee filed a new lawsuit against the company, alleging that it faced discrimination and sexual harassment.