Activision Blizzard strikes $18 million settlement with US employment watchdog

Activision Blizzard and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), have settled a lawsuit involving allegations of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination at the games company. This news comes after an EEOC lawsuit was filed in California on Monday. It was based upon a three-year investigation that included cooperation from the games publisher. Activision Blizzard will establish a $18 million fund in settlement to pay employees who claim damages.
The Wall Street Journal reported last Wednesday that Activision Blizzard was engaged in settlement negotiations with the EEOC. The EEOC claims it notified Activision Blizzard of its findings on June 15, 2018, after launching an investigation into September 2018. Then, it engaged in extensive conciliation talks with Activision Blizzard. The company also agrees to establish a fund for restitution and to stop discriminatory practices, which Activision Blizzard stated in previous statements. It also retains a consultant to help ensure compliance and to improve its training and performance review processes to prevent future offenses.

We will remain vigilant in our efforts to eliminate harassment and discrimination at work. Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO, expressed gratitude to the EEOC for their constructive engagement in fulfilling our commitments to eliminate inappropriate conduct at work. Any funds not claimed will be given to non-profit organizations that promote women in tech and video games, increase awareness about gender quality or towards future diversity and inclusive investment.

Activision Blizzard confirmed that it was under investigation

Activision Blizzard was involved in several legal disputes, including the EEOC complaint. The company had been previously sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing as well as the investors and Campaign to Organize Digital Employees. The Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating the company.

Activision Blizzard employees' stories and lawsuits paint a picture that shows a company where women were physically and verbally harassed without consequences. In the wake of these revelations, several executives including J. Allen Brack, the president of Blizzard, have resigned from the company. The company has also updated elements of Overwatch and World of Warcraft in order to remove any references to employees who were accused of harassing or engaging in other offences.

Updated 7:45 PM ET: Updated with information about settlement between Activision Blizzard & EEOC.