Blizzard Reaches $18 Million Settlement on Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit Featured Image

According to a press release issued by the company, Activision Blizzard has reached a settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding a sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination lawsuit filed against the corporation.

It is important to note that this lawsuit is separate from the one filed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which originally became known to the public in July and is still ongoing.

The company has since taken a variety of measures in order regain the community’s trust after the very serious sexual misconduct allegations, including firing Alex Afrasiabi, ex senior creative director for World of Warcraft and prominent party in the lawsuit and removing references to him from their games, among multiple other terminations and changes, both in-game and on the corporate level.

It would appear that this was not enough to stop the bleeding, and the company has chosen to cut their losses rather than prolong this disastrous legal battle and the negative PR that has come along with it, resulting in Activision Blizzard, Inc stock dropping in value by over 20% since news of the lawsuit first broke out.

activision stock
Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI) stock has been in free-fall since the controversy began

The key points of the agreement with the EEOC, which can be read in full here, are:

Creation of an $18 million fund, with any amounts not used for claimants divided between contributions to non-profit organizations whose mission involves advancing women in the video game and tech sectors or who promote awareness around sexual harassment and gender equality and further investments in diversity and inclusion efforts at the Company that go beyond what we agreed to with the EEOC, all as approved by the EEOC.

The Company will upgrade policies, practices, and training to prevent and eliminate harassment and discrimination in the workplace, including implementing an expanded performance review system with a new equal opportunity focus;

The Company will engage a neutral, third-party equal employment opportunity consultant – a non-employee who must be approved by the EEOC – who will provide ongoing oversight of the Company’s compliance with the agreement. This independent consultant’s findings will be reported directly to the EEOC and Activision Blizzard’s Board of Directors; and

The Company will hire an internal EEO Coordinator with relevant experience in gender discrimination, harassment, and related retaliation to assist the Company and the neutral, third-party EEO consultant with implementation of the agreement’s requirements.

This settlement has been criticized as lacking accountability by the media and labor unions, while the company seems pleased with it given the tone of the press release.

CEO Bobby Kotick and the Activision side of the company certainly have every reason to be pleased, having distanced themselves from the fallout that originated on Blizzard’s side. An uptick in the value of Activision Blizzard Inc stock following the release of Diablo II: Resurrected along with this agreement are probably a massive relief for executives.

However, it is not smooth sailing for the California-based company quite yet, as their legal battles are far from over. As mentioned previously, the DFEH lawsuit is still ongoing, while the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA) has filed a new suit against Activision Blizzard for labor violations.

To make things worse, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun investigating Activision Blizzard as well, having issued a subpoena for Bobby Kotick already.

About the Author

Pride

Classic WoW is my jam, with a passion for PvP. Most know me as Baranor, the ret paladin guy, but I'm secretly a druid main, don't tell anyone. In my free time I play Switch games, particularly JRPGs. Some day I'll be making my own games and I humbly hope you play those too!

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