The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) reached a settlement agreement with Activision Blizzard for a 2021 case that accused the company of gender discrimination and fostering a culture of misogyny and sexual harassment. The company will pay $54 million to settle the allegations, with $45.75 million going towards a fund to compensate female employees and contract workers in California from October 12, 2015, until December 31, 2020. Activision Blizzard will also have to hire an independent consultant to evaluate its promotion policies and training materials.
The lawsuit alleged that female employees were overlooked for promotions and paid less than male colleagues. However, the settlement will see the agency withdraw its claims of widespread sexual harassment, with the complaint focusing solely on gender-based pay gap and discrimination. The original lawsuit detailed how the company condoned a “frat boy” culture that allowed inappropriate behavior, such as “cube crawls,” where male employees would grope and sexually harass female colleagues at their desks.
Activision Blizzard expressed gratitude that the CRD has withdrawn the workplace harassment claims and stated commitment to implementing new obligations to ensure fair compensation and promotion policies. The department called the $50 million settlement “historic,” providing direct relief to women harmed by discriminatory practices. The lawsuit set the stage for Microsoft to acquire the developer after reports of sexual harassment allegations involving the company’s CEO surfaced. Furthermore, this article contains affiliate links, and a commission may be earned if a purchase is made after clicking on such links.