Judge Approves Activision Blizzard’s $18 Million Settlement In Gender Discrimination Case

Back in Sep­tem­ber 2021, Activi­sion Bliz­zard agreed to set­tle on its high-pro­file gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suits, and this set­tle­ment has final­ly been approved. A fed­er­al court of Tues­day announced it would approved Activi­sion Bliz­zard’s pro­posed set­tle­ment with the US Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ty Com­mis­sion (EEOC), which is the next step toward mak­ing an $18 mil­lion fund to com­pen­sate 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 future harass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion in the future. Activi­sion Bliz­zard said it will work with a “neu­tral, third-par­ty equal employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ty con­sul­tant” to give over­sight on Activi­sion Bliz­zard’s com­pli­ance. This con­sul­tant will be a non-Activi­sion Bliz­zard employ­ee who is approved by the EEOC. They will report their find­ings direct­ly to the EEOC and Activi­sion Bliz­zard’s board of directors.

Activi­sion has even hired Sta­cy Jack­son (on March 16th) to become the com­pa­ny’s new EEO coor­di­na­tor. They added that it also has a new zero-tol­er­ance pol­i­cy for harass­ment and retal­i­a­tion through­out the com­pa­ny. The size of Activi­sion Bliz­zard’s Ethics & Com­pli­ance team has “quadru­pled” in size.

The com­pa­ny has stat­ed that it “sig­nif­i­cant­ly increased” its invest­ment in ethics ans com­pli­ance train­ing, while doing bet­ter being trans­par­ent about pay equi­ty and diver­si­ty. The gam­ing giant has donat­ed $1 mil­lion to Women in Games Inter­na­tion­al and waived forced arbi­tra­tion for indi­vid­ual sex­u­al harass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion claims for those events that hap­pened after Octo­ber 28th, 2021.

What’s more, Activi­sion Bliz­zard said it also has a new in-house tool that tracks data on rep­re­sen­ta­tion and pres­ence of women and under­rep­re­sent­ed eth­nic groups at all stages of their hir­ing process. As an inter­est­ing note, the com­pa­ny has also said it now has “stricter poli­cies” when it comes to alco­hol consumption.

Activi­sion Bliz­zard has a goal of increas­ing female rep­re­sen­ta­tion and non-bina­ry work­ers by 50% with­in the next five years. Addi­tion­al­ly, Activi­sion is also spend­ing $250 mil­lion over the next decade on efforts to  “fos­ter expand­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties in gam­ing and tech­nol­o­gy for under-rep­re­sent­ed communities.”

Activi­sion Bliz­zard is still fac­ing the law­suit from Cal­i­for­ni­a’s Depart­ment of Fair Employ­ment and Hous­ing relat­ed to the sex­u­al harass­ment and pay vio­la­tions, among oth­er con­cerns. This case is still ongoing.

The EEOC and DFEH have but heads over this mat­ter, with the DFEH try to inter­fere, but a judge ulti­mate­ly deny­ing its posi­tion, accord­ing to NPR. Any­one who accepts mon­ey from the EEOC set­tle­ment can­not receive pay­out from the DFEH law­suit, if it becomes finalized.

Activi­sion Bliz­zard CEO Bob­by Kotick is accused of know­ing (and cov­er­ing up) some instances of sex­u­al harass­ment and oth­er abuse. He is report­ed­ly leav­ing the com­pa­ny after Microsoft­’s pro­posed pur­chase of Activi­sion Bliz­zard goes through. Sev­er­al US sen­a­tors recent­ly showed con­cern over the pos­si­ble acqui­si­tion, send­ing a let­ter to the FTC.

I am a Platinum lover and an ex- Cod-aholic. I've been playing games since I was 5 years old and I refuse to quit, despite my mother's attempts to get me to. God of War and its successors are my all time favorite games.

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