Activision to pay $50 mln to settle workplace discrimination case

  • Dec 15 (Reuters) – Activision Blizzard will pay roughly $50 million to settle a 2021 lawsuit by a California regulator that claimed the videogame maker discriminated against women employees, including denying them promotion opportunities and underpaying them.
  • California’s Civil Rights Department (CRD) had sued the “Call of Duty” maker after two years of investigation over allegations that it routinely underpaid and failed to promote female workers and condoned sexual harassment.
  • The CRD will withdraw the claims of systemic sexual harassment, according to the settlement agreement, seen by Reuters. The remaining allegations resolved by the agreement included that Activision discriminated against women, including by denying promotion chances and paying them less than men for doing substantially similar work, the CRD said in a statement on Friday.
  • Activision will take extra steps to ensure fair pay and promotion practices and provide monetary relief to women who were employees or contract workers in California between Oct. 12, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2020, as part of the agreement, which is subject to court approval, the CRD statement said.
  • “In the settlement agreement, the CRD expressly acknowledged that ‘no court or independent investigation has substantiated any allegations that there has been systemic or widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard’,” the videogame maker said in a statement on Friday.
  • The company also said that no review substantiated that its board or top executive acted improperly in handling instances of workplace misconduct.
  • Activision, which was bought in October by Microsoft (MSFT.O) for nearly $69 billion, agreed in 2021 to pay up to $18 million to settle similar claims made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Reporting by Arsheeya Bajwa in Bengaluru and Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh, Grant McCool, Leslie Adler and William Mallard

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