Sunday, December 5

Activision Blizzard, creator of Candy Crush, to pay $ 18 million in sexual harassment lawsuit

The state’s investigation found that 80% of Activision employees are men and women were forced to defend themselves against ongoing sexual harassment. ”

Photo: Sascha Schuermann / Getty Images

Video game company Activision Blizzard agreed to pay $ 18 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the United States government.

Activision, which markets games such as ‘Call of Duty’, ‘World of Warcraft’ and ‘Candy Crush’, reached a settlement this week with the lawsuit brought by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC, for its acronym in English).

In a seven-page complaint filed the previous Monday in California federal court, EEOC alleged that Activision exposed its employees to widespread and severe sexual harassment. The company also allegedly discriminated against pregnant employees.

Activision did not respond adequately to employee complaints about discrimination and even retaliated against employees who spoke out, the complaint alleged.

The EEOC said their lawsuit was based on a three-year investigation, which continued during similar investigations by other state and federal regulators.

As part of the settlement agreement, Activision Blizzard agreed to use the $ 18 million to establish a fund for employees who were harassed or suffered discrimination.. The company also agreed to strengthen its policies against harassment and discrimination.

Additionally, Activision said it is developing an initiative to create software tools and training programs to improve workplace policies at other technology companies.

“There is no room in any part of our company for discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment of any kind, and I am grateful to the employees who courageously shared their experiences,” Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick said Monday, according to The New York Post.

“I am sorry that someone misbehaved, and I remain steadfast in my commitment to making Activision Blizzard one of the most inclusive, respected and respectful workplaces in the world. We will remain vigilant in our commitment to eliminate harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We thank the EEOC for its constructive engagement as we work to meet our commitments to eradicate inappropriate conduct in the workplace, ”he added.

The allegations first emerged months ago after the California Department of Employment and Housing Equality sued the company, alleging that Activision is a breeding ground for sexual harassment, with male workers fostering a culture full of rape jokes, rude comments and groping that even led to one female employee committing suicide.

The state’s investigation found that 80% of Activision employees are men and women were forced to defend themselves against “constant sexual harassment” by their colleagues and superiors, according to that lawsuit, which is separate from the one that was settled. on Monday.

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