Judge Approves Activision Blizzard's $18 Million Settlement In Gender Discrimination And Harassment Case
This paves the way for Activision Blizzard to create an $18 million fund to pay workers affected by bad behavior.
In September 2021, Activision Blizzard agreed to terms to settle one of its high-profile gender discrimination lawsuits, and that settlement has now been approved. A federal court on Tuesday announced that it would approve Activision Blizzard's proposed settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the next step toward creating an $18 million fund to compensate and make amends to workers affected by gender discrimination and harassments claims within the company.
Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will create an $18 million fund for eligible claimants and take steps to enhance its "policies, practices, and training" to help prevent harassment and discrimination in the future. Additionally, Activision Blizzard said it will work with a "neutral, third-party equal employment opportunity consultant" to provide oversight on Activision Blizzard's compliance. This person will be a non-Activision Blizzard employee approved by the EEOC. This individual will report their findings directly to the EEOC and Activision Blizzard's board of directors.
What's more, Activision said it hired Stacy Jackson on March 16 to become the company's new EEO coordinator. The company went on to say that it also has a new zero-tolerance policy for harassment and retaliation across the company, while the size of its Ethics & Compliance team has "quadrupled" in size.
Activision Blizzard also said it "significantly increased" its investment in ethics and compliance training, while it now does better with transparency regarding pay equity and diversity representation, the company said. The Call of Duty giant donated $1 million to Women in Games International and waived forced arbitration for individual sexual harassment and discrimination claims for those pertaining to events that happened after October 28, 2021.
What's more, Activision Blizzard said it has a new in-house tool that tracks data on the representation and presence of women and underrepresented ethnic group candidates at all stages of the hiring process. Additionally, Activision Blizzard said it now has "stricter policies" pertaining to alcohol consumption.
Activision Blizzard has a goal of increasing the representation of women and non-binary workers by 50% in the next five years. Additionally, Activision Blizzard is spending $250 million over the next decade on efforts to "foster expanded opportunities in gaming and technology for under-represented communities."
Activision Blizzard is also facing a lawsuit from California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing related to sexual harassment and pay violations, among other things. That case is ongoing.
The EEOC and DFEH have been at odds in this matter, with the DFEH trying to intervene, but ultimately had its position denied by a judge, according to NPR. Anyone who accepts money from the EEOC settlement cannot receive a payout from the DFEH lawsuit, should it be finalized.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who is personally accused of knowing about and covering up instances of sexual harassment and other abuse, is reportedly going to leave the company after Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion buyout of Activision Blizzard goes through.
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