US-based gaming giant Activision Blizzard has agreed to a settlement of approximately $54 million to resolve a lawsuit filed by California regulators in 2021.
The suit, brought forth by California’s Civil Rights Department (CRD), accused Activision Blizzard of discriminatory practices against women employees, including disparities in promotions and unequal compensation.
The settlement, subject to court approval, extends compensation eligibility to women who were employed or contracted with Activision Blizzard in California between October 12, 2015, and December 31, 2020. Activision did not reveal the number of women employees who will receive the benefit.
Initially triggered by a two-year investigation, the CRD lawsuit highlighted allegations of gender-based discrimination within the company. While the settlement sees the withdrawal of specific claims related to systemic sexual harassment, it addresses persisting allegations of gender discrimination, particularly in denying advancement opportunities and paying women less than men for similar roles.
Under the terms of the agreement, Activision Blizzard commits to implementing measures ensuring equitable pay and fair promotion practices. Monetary relief is also designated for eligible women who worked for the company within the specified time frame.
In response to the settlement, Activision Blizzard emphasized that the CRD acknowledged the absence of substantiated evidence from courts or independent investigations supporting claims of widespread sexual harassment within the company. The gaming firm also defended its leadership, stating that investigations did not establish any wrongdoing by its board or chief executive in addressing workplace misconduct.
This settlement follows a prior agreement in 2021 where Activision Blizzard had consented to pay up to $18 million to settle similar claims filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
For those seeking information or wishing to file complaints regarding workplace discrimination, the CRD has provided guidance and resources on their complaint process and protections against discrimination and harassment in employment settings.