Activision Blizzard announced on Monday it has reached an agreement to settle the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit, alleging gender discrimination and harassment within the company. Part of deal requires Activision Blizzard to create an $18 million fund to “compensate and make amends to eligible claimants.”
Any funds that go unused will be given to a number of charities that promote women in the video game industry, improve diversity, equity, and inclusivity efforts.
“There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind, and I am grateful to the employees who bravely shared their experiences,” Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick said in a statement. “I am sorry that anyone had to experience inappropriate conduct, and I remain unwavering in my commitment to make Activision Blizzard one of the world’s most inclusive, respected, and respectful workplaces.”
“We will continue to be vigilant in our commitment to the elimination of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We thank the EEOC for its constructive engagement as we work to fulfill our commitments to eradicate inappropriate conduct in the workplace.”
Of course, Activision Blizzard denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to the settlement to the avoid any “expense, distraction, and possible litigation.”
Activision Blizzard’s full statement says:
“Defendants expressly deny that they subjected any individual or group of individuals to sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and/or related retaliation, deny all allegations of wrongdoing, liability, damages and entitlement to other relief set forth in the Action whether arising under Title VII or analogous state and local laws, deny any group or systemic discrimination or harassment, and deny that any of their policies and procedures are inadequate. However, the Parties recognize that through this Decree the Parties can avoid the expense, distraction and possible litigation associated with such a dispute and thus the Parties wish to resolve all issues through this Decree.”
The deal is not yet concrete, as the court still need to make its approval.
Activision Blizzard is also committed to the following:
- Upgrading policies, practices, and training to further prevent and eliminate harassment and discrimination in its workplaces, including implementing an expanded performance review system with a new equal opportunity focus;
- Providing ongoing oversight and review of the Company’s training programs, investigation policies, disciplinary framework and compliance by appointing a third-party equal opportunity consultant whose findings will be regularly reported to our Board of Directors as well as the Commission.
Activision Blizzard also announced that it will hire a “neutral, third-party equal employment consultant”–who will be approved by the EEOC–to overlook Activision Blizzard’s compliance. Additionally, Activision Blizzard stated it will hire someone with experience in “gender discrimination, harassment, and related retaliation to assist [Activision Blizzard].…”
Activision Blizzard’s fund deal with the EEOC will be in place for three years whenever it begins. You can see the full terms of the agreement here.
This all started earlier this year when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company for sexual harassment and discrimination against women. Activision Blizzard is also facing an investigation from the SEC.