The California Department of Fair Housing and Housing has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard after years of investigation. The reason for the claim is related to “violations of state civil rights and equal pay laws”, especially in relation to the treatment of women and other marginalized groups.
Warning about the content of graphic conversations about sexual misconduct, abuse and suicide.
The corollary lasts more than ttwo years and how Bloomberg It is reported that the lawsuit is accused of the culture of “student brotherhood” in the Activision Blizzard environment. The studio is also called a “hotbed of harassment and discrimination against women.” The report is descriptive at times, describing alleged incidents that range from more casual discrimination to sexual assault and harassment. The lawsuit alleges that certain actions led to the suicide of one developer after traveling with his supervisor.
As stated in the documents of claim, found here, the report states that There are many women at Activision Blizzard who beat off “unwanted sexual comments” and “grope” during what is called a cube scan:
In the office, women are exposed to “cube crawling” when male employees drink copious amounts of alcohol while “crawling” around different offices in the office, and often exhibit inappropriate behavior towards female employees. Male employees proudly come to work with a hangover, play video games for a long time during work, delegate their duties to employees, make fun of their sexual contacts, talk openly about women’s bodies and joke about rape.
According to the report, sexual harassment and misconduct even led one woman to commit suicide while on a work trip with her boss, who reportedly brought in “butt plugs and lubricant” in the hopes of coercing her into unwanted relationships.
As is often the case with such reports, the report states that there have been many attempts to talk to HR to resolve any issue and seek help along the chain of command. “Employees were also dissuaded from complaints because it was known that the personnel department was close to the alleged persecutors,” the lawsuit file says. “As a result of these complaints, female workers were subjected to reprisals, including, but not limited to, the termination of work on projects, their inadvertent transfer to other departments and selection for dismissal.”
The lawsuit also mentions the gender pay gap.ale colleagues, who claims that many womenn is offered a similar role as male colleagues with a much lower remuneration rate. The suit also detailed the features that were believed to be primarily aimed at men, which held back the progressive growth of the company’s infrastructure. The documents also say that many women under the umbrella of Activision Blizzard felt they needed to work harder and longer than their male counterparts to get the chance to take advantage of the same opportunities. The lawsuit details specific examples of this that can be found here…
Game informer contacted an Activision Blizzard representative about the lawsuit and they responded with the following statement:
We value diversity and strive to create a workplace that offers inclusiveness for everyone. There is no place for sexual harassment or harassment of any kind in our company, industry or any industry. We take every claim seriously and investigate all claims. In cases of inappropriate behavior, steps have been taken to address the problem.
The DFEH includes garbled, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We worked very actively with DFEH throughout the investigation, including providing them with extensive data and extensive documentation, but they declined to tell us what issues they noticed. They were required by law to investigate and discuss in good faith with us to better understand and resolve any claims or concerns before going to court, but they did not. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, which we will demonstrate in court. We are disgusted with the reprehensible behavior of DFEH, which has drawn into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose departure has nothing to do with the case, and pays no attention to her grieving family. While we find this behavior shameful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they behaved throughout the investigation. It is this type of irresponsible behavior by irresponsible government bureaucrats that drives many of the state’s best businesses out of California.
The picture DFEH is painting is not Blizzard’s workplace today. Over the past few years, and continuing since the initial investigation began, we have made significant cultural changes and reflected greater diversity in our leadership teams. We have expanded our internal programs and channels through which employees can report violations, including a “Request List” with a confidential hotline, and have created an Employee Relations Team to investigate employee issues. We have strengthened our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, and we have connected our networks of employees globally to provide additional support. Employees are also required to receive regular anti-harassment training, which they do for many years.
We work hard to create fair and rewarding compensation packages and policies that reflect our culture and business, and we strive to fairly pay all employees for equal or similar work. We are taking a number of proactive steps to ensure that payments are subject to non-discriminatory factors. For example, we reward and compensate employees based on their performance, and we provide extensive anti-discrimination training, including for those involved in the compensation process.
We are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practice as an equal opportunity employer that contributes to the creation of supportive, diverse and inclusive jobs for our employees, and we are determined to continue these efforts in the years to come. It is unfortunate that DFEH did not want to discuss with us what they thought they saw in their investigation.
To read the full report, you can read more about the ongoing lawsuit at Bloomberg here, including personal retellings from multiple sources within the company.