Following an investigation into Activision Blizzard’s persistent sexual harassment claims, a California judge authorised a settlement on Wednesday that will see the video game behemoth pay its accusers $18 million.
According to NPR, the ruling comes after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission conducted a years-long inquiry into Activision Blizzard’s work practises in response to many accusations of severe sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. The accusations further stated that the corporation would take retaliatory action against individuals who complained. The federal government filed an official complaint in September.
“Our goal is to make Activision Blizzard a model for the industry, and we will continue to focus on eliminating harassment and discrimination from our workplace,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement released following the decision. “The court’s approval of this settlement is a significant step toward ensuring that our employees have recourse if they are subjected to harassment or retaliation.”
The judgement comes as numerous organisations continue to scrutinise the business behind the World of Warcraft and Call of Duty series’ work policies.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has also launched a lawsuit against the corporation for equal pay violations, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment, accusing the company’s upper management of cultivating a “frat boy” culture.
According to the department, male employees “drank large amounts of alcohol as they [crawled] their way around numerous cubicles in the office and frequently [engaged] in inappropriate behaviour against female colleagues,” openly joking about rape and sexual problems. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also looking into the company’s treatment of harassment and discrimination accusations.
In a statement, an Activision Blizzard representative said, “We applaud the courage of any current or former employee in stepping forward and will continue to evaluate accusations brought to our attention.” “Sexual misbehaviour, harassment, discrimination, or retribution of any type has no place in our firm or industry.”
Activision Blizzard is in the midst of a mammoth Microsoft merger worth about $69 billion, however the deal has yet to be approved or finished by federal regulators.