Activision Blizzard Faces Yet Another Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Alleging Rampant Sexism
The lawsuit filed on behalf of a female Blizzard employee alleges that on her first day of work, she was pressured to take tequila shots and told to share an "embarrassing secret."
Activision Blizzard is facing yet another lawsuit in relation to the company's alleged culture of sexual harassment and discrimination. This time, it involves a current Blizzard employee who says she was retaliated against for reporting various incidents of sexism and harassment.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court (via Bloomberg) on behalf of a woman referred to only as Jane Doe, in order to protect the woman's identity. She is represented by attorney Lisa Bloom, who held a press conference in front of Blizzard's Irvine, California offices in December in relation to the recently filed lawsuit, during which she shared details on Doe's experiences and called out Blizzard's alleged frat-boy culture that is already the subject of a state of California lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Doe started working in Blizzard's IT department back in 2017 as a senior administrative assistant. On her first day of work, she alleges she was pressured to take shots of tequila and share an embarrassing secret with her coworkers. The lawsuit alleges she was often pressured to drink alcohol, participate in "cube crawls" around the office," and stay after work to play the party-game Jackbox, which she alleges often devolved into questions and answers that were sexual in nature. She alleges she was also subject to unwanted advances, included being propositioned for sex and having a manager try to kiss her.
When Doe allegedly brought these concerns up to others in the company, her concerns were shrugged off, and she began to face retaliation for coming forward with her complaints. She sought to be transferred out of the IT department, but was rejected multiple times for other positions until she wrote a complaint to J. Allen Brack, Blizzard's president at the time who stepped down last year amidst the fallout from the state of California's lawsuit. She was then offered a new role in a different department, albeit with a significant salary decrease.
The suit is seeking court orders that would require Activision Blizzard to implement a rotating human resources department in order to avoid conflicts of interest, the firing of CEO Bobby Kotick (who is expected to get a $15 million golden parachute pending the approval of Microsoft's $69 billion buyout of the company), and other demands, alongside seeking damages for lost wages, medical expenses, and more. GameSpot reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment but has not yet received a response.
This new lawsuit is just the latest in a long list of investigations and lawsuits in regards to Activision Blizzard's workplace culture. The company recently settled with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to the tune of $18 million, with that money to be used towards compensating employees effected by harassment or discrimination, donated to charities focused on advancing women and minorities in the gaming industry, and fund company inclusion initiatives. Activision Blizzard has sought to have the state of California's lawsuit put on hold, with a judge recently denying that request. Activision Blizzard is also being sued by the family of a former employee who died by suicide during a company retreat in 2017.
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