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.