Judge Approves Activision Blizzard’s $18M Settlement in Gender Discrimination and Harassment Case

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 announced on Tuesday that it would approve Activision Blizzard’s proposed settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This is the next step in creating an $18 million fund to compensate and redress workers affected by gender discrimination and harassment within the company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will establish an $18 million fund for eligible applicants and take steps to improve its “policies, practices and training” to prevent future harassment and discrimination. In addition, Activision Blizzard said it will work with a “neutral, independent equal employment opportunity consultant” to monitor Activision Blizzard’s compliance. This person must be an EEOC-approved Activision Blizzard employee. This person will report their findings directly to the EEOC and the Activision Blizzard Board of Directors.

Additionally, Activision announced that it had hired Stacy Jackson on March 16 to become the company’s new EEO coordinator. The company said it also had a new zero-tolerance policy on harassment and retaliation across the company, while “quadruple” the size of its Ethics & Compliance team.

Activision Blizzard also said it has “significantly increased” its investment in ethics and compliance training while now doing better with transparency around pay equity and diversity advocacy, the company said. The Call of Duty giant donated $1 million to Women in Games International and waived forced arbitration for individual claims of sexual harassment and discrimination against individuals related to events that occurred after October 28, 2021.

Additionally, Activision Blizzard said it has a new internal tool that tracks data on the representation and presence of women and candidates from underrepresented ethnic groups at all stages of the hiring process. Additionally, Activision Blizzard said it now has “tighter policies” around alcohol consumption.

Activision Blizzard has set a goal of increasing the proportion of women and non-binary workers by 50% over the next five years. Additionally, Activision Blizzard is spending $250 million over the next decade in efforts to “foster expanded opportunities in gaming and technology for underrepresented communities.”

Activision Blizzard is also facing a lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging, among other things, sexual harassment and wage violations. This case is not yet closed.

The EEOC and DFEH were at odds on the matter, with the DFEH trying to intervene but ultimately being denied by a judge, according to NPR. Anyone who accepts money from the EEOC Settlement will not be able to receive a payout from the DFEH process should it complete.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who is personally accused of knowing and covering up cases of sexual harassment and other abuse, will reportedly leave the company after Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard dollars is completed.

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