The Company Will Also Develop Tools and Training Programs to Assist Efforts to Improve Workplace Experiences
Activision Blizzard has confirmed that, as part of its effort “to have the most welcoming, inclusive workplace,” it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to settle claims “and to further strengthen policies and programs to prevent harassment and discrimination in the company’s workplace.“
The company had been named, along with other California companies, in a lawsuit by the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing in which it alleged Equal Pay Violations, Sex Discrimination, and Sexual Harassment.
Under the Settlement, Activision Blizzard has committed to create an $18 million fund to compensate and make amends to eligible claimants. Any amounts not used for claimants will be divided between charities that advance women in the video game industry or promote awareness around harassment and gender equality issues as well as company diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as approved by the EEOC. The agreement is subject to court approval.
“Many tech companies build on the motto ‘build fast and ask forgiveness later’,” said Ellen Zavian, a GW law professor and the editor of Esports and the Law. “It is my hope all video companies take a pause and realize that forgiveness means someone has already been harmed. I hope the industry takes this opportunity to get it right so no one going forward is put in harm’s way.”
Activision Blizzard also announced an initiative to develop software tools and training programs to improve workplace policies and practices for employers across the technology industry.
“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,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “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.”
In addition to the agreed funds, the company is taking additional steps, including:
- 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.