Activision Blizzard has officially settled a federal harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $18 million. Although there are still several active suits, some lawyers call it a win for the company.
- US District Judge Dale Fischer approved a $18 million settlement on March 29, The Washington Post reported.
- The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which was the first to file a harassment lawsuit against Activision Blizzard in July 2021, asked the judge to delay the approval. Fischer, however, said that while she can’t prevent anyone from appealing, she decided to close the EEOC case.
- Activision Blizzard will have to pay compensations to victims of sexual harassment, retaliation, and other discrimination from its $18 million fund. Any employee who joined the company no later than September 1, 2016, can claim damages.
- The publisher is also ordered to establish programs aimed at preventing harassment and discrimination. They will be audited by the EEOC. Activision Blizzard also must expand its mental health services and hire an independent expert who will report to the EEOC.
- Leftover funds may go to charities for advancing women in gaming or spreading awareness about gender equality.
“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. “The court’s approval of this settlement is an important step in ensuring that our employees have mechanisms for recourse if they experienced any form of harassment or retaliation.”
- Although the EEOC is pleased with the ruling, many organizations still criticize the settlement. The Communications Workers of America noted that $18 million is an insufficient sum, taking into account hundreds of potential victims.
- According to lawyer P. Andrew Torrez, this settlement is a “clear win” for Activision Blizzard as the company will pay a relatively small sum. On top of that, this victory might bar the DFEH from seeking further damages at the state court level.