Activision Blizzard agreed to pay nearly $55 million as part of a settlement with the California Civil Rights Department addressing highly publicized accusations of workplace discrimination against women at the video game company.
The settlement, announced Friday, remains subject to court approval. Of the total, nearly $46 million will be dedicated to compensating women who were employees or contract workers at the company in California between October 2015 and December 2020.
The details: The California Civil Rights Department filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard in 2021, following a two-year investigation into damning allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at the company.
The agency accused the company of violating California’s Equal Pay Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act. It withdrew its claims of widespread and systemic harassment as part of the settlement agreement.
In September 2021, Activision Blizzard reached an $18 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressing similar allegations of failing to address sexual harassment and discrimination against women.
The matters precluded the company’s acquisition by Microsoft, which was completed in October.
Compliance considerations: The settlement requires Activision Blizzard to:
- Provide monetary relief to affected workers and litigation costs;
- Retain an independent consultant to evaluate and make recommendations regarding its compensation and promotion policies and training materials; and
- Continue outreach and recruitment efforts to job candidates from underrepresented communities.
In February, Activision Blizzard was fined $35 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission for inadequate disclosures regarding how its response to workplace complaints harmed its ability to hire and retain skilled employees and alleged whistleblower protection violations.
Company response: “We appreciate the importance of the issues addressed in this agreement, and we are dedicated to fully implementing all the new obligations we have assumed as part of it,” said an Activision Blizzard spokesperson in an emailed statement.