Activision sued by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Activision-Blizzard now faces a fifth lawsuit as the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges workplace discrimination.

@DeekeTweak
Published Mon, Sep 27 2021 6:14 PM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Sep 27 2021 10:43 PM CDT

UPDATE:Activision-Blizzard has settled the lawsuit and has agreed to pay $18 million in an escrow account for anyone who was discriminated against. See the filing here.

Establishing a Settlement Fund and General Provisions

1. Defendants will provide a total fund of $18,000,000 to be available to Eligible Claimants to resolve this Action. Within thirty (30) calendar days of the Effective Date, Defendants will cause that sum to be deposited into the Settlement Fund and provide the EEOC with written verification of that funding within seven (7) calendar days of deposit.

2. The Settlement Fund will be distributed to the Eligible Claimants and, as applicable, to the Cy Pres Fund in accordance with the terms of this Decree.

3. The EEOC has full and complete discretion under the terms of this Decree to determine who is an Eligible Claimant meeting the requirements of eligibility for payment and the amount and characterization of such payments as income, wages or otherwise, as hereinafter described in this Decree.

Activision-Blizzard has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Activision sued by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 43 | TweakTown.com

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard demanding a jury trial. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California and alleges the billion-dollar games company has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which are devoted to workplace discrimination.

It's worth mentioning the EEOC is a federal agency responsible for investigating workplace and civil rights violations, and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the state agency that does the same. Activision-Blizzard is being sued on both a federal and state level for the same accusations.

Similar to the DFEH lawsuit, the EEOC complaint mentions three specific allegations: sexual harassment, sex discrimination (pregnancy), and unjust retaliation for workers.

Here's a copy of the complaints from the lawsuit:

  • 20. At all relevant times, Defendants have been a company that creates and distributes video games and other gaming-related content throughout the United States, with Activision Blizzard, Inc., and Activision Publishing, Inc.'s principal places of business in Santa Monica, CA and Blizzard Entertainment's principal place of business in Irvine, CA.
  • 21. Since in or around September 2016, there have been instances where Defendants have engaged in unlawful employment practices in violation of §§ 701(k), 703(a) and 704(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a) and 2000e-3(a) by subjecting a class of individuals to sexual harassment, to pregnancy discrimination and/or to retaliation.
  • 22. Employees were subjected sexual harassment that was severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment. The conduct was unwelcome and adversely affected the employees. The Defendants knew or should have known of the sexual harassment of the adversely affected employees.
  • 23. Some employees complained about the sexual harassment, but Defendants failed to take corrective and preventative measures. Once Defendants knew or should have known of the sexual harassment of the adversely affected employees, Defendants failed to take prompt and effective remedial action reasonably calculated to end the harassment.
  • 24. Defendants discriminated against employees due to their pregnancy that adversely affected the employees.
  • 25. Defendants retaliated against employees who engaged in activity protected by Title VII including, but not limited to, rejecting and/or complaining about sexual harassment and/or complaining about pregnancy discrimination. As a result of engaging in such protected activity, employees were subjected to adverse employment actions including discharge or constructive discharge. The unlawful employment practices complained of in paragraphs 20 to 25 above adversely affected employees to suffer damages including emotional distress.

Activision-Blizzard specifically mentioned it is working closely with the EEOC and other regulators:

Kotick also said that the Company continues to productively engage with regulators, including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) with the goal of improving its workplace policies and procedures and ensuring compliance.

Activision is currently facing five high-profile complaints that may have precedential effects on the games industry:

  1. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a discrimination lawsuit on a state level
  2. California Department of Fair Employment and Housing investigation alleging sexual misconduct and discrimination
  3. Charges of violating National Labor Relations Act with unfair labor practices (ULP) and alleged union busting
  4. Class-action lawsuit alleging securities fraud with over a dozen law firms trying to bring the case to trial
  5. SEC investigation regarding internal communications, workplace discrimination, and potential securities fraud
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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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