Activision Blizzard Settles Discrimination Lawsuit With $50 Million Payout

Activision Blizzard will settle allegations that it discriminated against female employees with a payout of over $50 million. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, this will end its lawsuit with the California Civil Rights Department (formally called the Department of Fair Employment and Housing), which launched in 2021.


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The lawsuit opened the gates for numerous allegations to be made against key figures in Activision Blizzard, included, but not limited to, CEO Bobby Kotick, as well as several high up developers at Blizzard. Some of the accused have since left the company, but Kotick has controversially remained in his position throughout the lawsuit, seeing the Activision Blizzard and Microsoft merger through it its end.

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While the allegations were wide reaching, including claims that Activision Blizzard fostered a “frat boy” workplace that was toxic for women, this settlement specifically focuses on claims of sex based discrimination in its employment practices. This included allegations that women were paid less than men in the company. Almost $47 million of the roughly $56 million settlement will be paid to women who worked at Activision Blizzard from 2015 to 2020, and the rest will cover legal fees.

“We are gratified that we have reached an agreement with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) today,” reads a statement from Activision Blizzard, published by Venture Beat. “We appreciate the importance of the issues addressed in this agreement and we are dedicated to fully implementing all the new obligations we have assumed as part of it.”

It continues: “We want our employees to know that, as the agreement specifies, we are committed to ensuring fair compensation and promotion policies and practices for all our employees, and we will continue our efforts regarding inclusion of qualified candidates from underrepresented communities in outreach, recruitment, and retention.”

Bobby Kotick is expected to finally leave Activision Blizzard in the new year, now that the acquisition is complete.

However, as noted by Activision Blizzard, the settlement includes the CRD “withdraw[ing] its 2021 claims alleging widespread and systemic workplace harassment at Activision Blizzard”. These are the allegations that made headlines in 2021, claiming that, among other things, male employees would drink “copious amounts of alcohol” and “engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees” in the workplace. With the settlement, the CRD drops these claims.

Further more, the CRD says that no court has substantiated claims that Bobby Kotick “acted improperly with regard to the handling of any instances of workplace misconduct.” Despite this, Kotick is still a highly controversial figure within the industry. In late 2021, more than 1,500 Activision Blizzard employees signed a petition to have him ousted from the company. A public petition amassed more than 35,000 signatories.

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