Video game giant Activision Blizzard agreed to a multi-million dollar payout and consent decree in order to settle the EEOC’s sexual harassment lawsuit, which was filed last September.
The company came under fire last year when employees alleged rampant sexual harassment and discrimination. The specific charges were quite severe and included claims of a “frat boy” company culture. This involved heavy drinking on the job and objectifying female workers.
The harassment didn’t stop there. One of the company’s leaders was accused of having a private office, nicknamed “The Cosby Suite,” where he would invite female employees, then kiss and grope them. One harassment victim ended up taking her own life.
Now, Activision Blizzard is settling the lawsuit for $18 million, as well as agreeing to other terms.
Consent decree requirements
There is a lot the EEOC is requiring the company to do for the next three years:
- conduct audits of complaints to see how effective the company’s resolution process is
- periodically ask employees whether harassment and discrimination issues are being addressed properly
- allow an equal employment opportunity consultant to oversee and review company policies for handling complaints
- provide anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training
- ensure HR pros receive training on workplace investigations, and
- maintain accurate records of all complaints and investigations.
Action taken now
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, released a statement on the settlement, saying it “reflects our unwavering commitment to ensure a safe and equitable working environment for all employees.”
“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,” Kotick said.
Despite the settlement being approved just yesterday, Activision Blizzard has already taken the following steps:
- developed a new zero-tolerance harassment policy
- quadrupled the size of its Ethics & Compliance team
- contributed $1 million to WIGI to advance the success of women in the gaming industry, and
- developed stricter company policies regarding alcohol use.