After a two-year investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the state has sued Activision Blizzard for promoting a “brother-child” culture that allegedly suffers unequal pay and sexual harassment by female employees.
As reported by Bloomberg, Activision Blizzard has been accused by the state of California of discriminating against female employees at nearly all employment levels, including pay, promotion, assignment and firing. The state claims that Activision Blizzard’s leadership failed to address any of these important issues or prevent them from occurring in the workplace. You can read the full details of the case here.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, says Activision Blizzard, which is about 20 percent women, has assigned women and women of color to “lower pay and lower opportunity levels” with lower starting pay for similar jobs. as male colleagues.
The documents also accuse Activision Blizzard of “promoting a pervasive ‘frat boy’ workplace culture” in the office. Male employees are said to have “drank copious amounts of alcohol” as they passed booths and “usually engaged in inappropriate behavior towards female employees.”
Male employees are said to come to work hungover, play video games while on the job, “joke about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies, and joke about rape while delegating their responsibilities to female employees.”
The lawsuit also refers to a specific case in which a female employee who was already subjected to intense sexual harassment at the company committed suicide while on a business trip, along with a male manager who allegedly brought inappropriate, sexual items.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction that will compel Activision Blizzard to comply with workplace protections, as well as provide unpaid wages, pay adjustments, reimbursement and lost wages and benefits for female employees.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson made the following statement in response to the allegations:
We value diversity and strive to develop an inclusive workplace for all. There is no room for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind in our company or industry, or in any industry. We take every claim seriously and investigate all claims. In cases of abuse, action was taken to resolve the problem.
The DFEH contains distorted and in many cases false descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We’ve been extremely cooperative with DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and copious amounts of documentation, but they refused to let us know what problems they detected. Legally, they were required to do enough research and have good faith conversations with us to better understand and resolve any claim or concern before going to court, but they were unable to do so. Instead, they hastened to file a false complaint, as we will show in court. We are fed up with the shameful behavior of DFEH to file the tragic suicide of an employee whose death had nothing to do with this case and who disregarded his grieving family. While we find this behavior embarrassing and unprofessional, unfortunately this is just an example of how they conduct themselves throughout their investigations. It is such irresponsible behavior by non-responsible State bureaucrats that pushes many of the state’s top businesses out of California.
The DFEH painting is not today’s Blizzard workplace. Over the past few years and continuing since the initial investigation began, we have made significant changes to address company culture and reflect greater diversity in our leadership teams. We’ve updated our Code of Conduct to emphasize a strict focus on non-retaliation, strengthened internal programs and channels for employees to report violations, including a confidential honesty hotline and the “ASK List”, and established an Employee Relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns. We have strengthened our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion and have combined our Employee Networks globally to provide additional support. Employees should also undergo regular anti-harassment training, and they have done so for many years.
We strive to create fair and rewarding compensation packages and policies that reflect our culture and business, and we strive to pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take several proactive steps to ensure that the fee is driven by non-discriminatory factors. For example, we reward and compensate our employees based on their performance and conduct comprehensive anti-discrimination training, including as part of the compensation process.
We are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practices as an equal opportunity employer that promotes a supportive, diverse and inclusive workplace for our employees, and we are determined to continue this effort for years to come. It’s a shame that DFEH didn’t want to contact us about what they thought they saw in their investigation.
Matt Kim is the News Editor at IGN.