As reported by Bloomberg, Activision Blizzard is accused by the State of California of discriminating against female employees at nearly all levels of employment, including pay, promotion, assignments and termination. The state alleges that Activision Blizzard management has failed to resolve any of these outstanding issues or prevent them from occurring in the workplace. You can read all the details of the trial here.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, says Activision Blizzard – which is made up of roughly 20% women – assigns women and women of color at “lower levels of opportunity and pay.” with a lower starting salary for similar work. like their male counterparts.
The documents also accuse Activision Blizzard of fostering a “ubiquitous ‘frat boy’ work culture in the office. Male employees drink “copious amounts of alcohol” as they work their way through cubicles and “often engage in inappropriate behavior towards female employees.” . “
Male employees are said to come to work hungover, play video games on the job “while delegating their responsibilities to female employees, make jokes about their sex, talk openly about women’s bodies and joke around. on rape ”.
The lawsuit also cites a particular incident where an employee, who was previously subjected to intense sexual harassment at the company, committed suicide while on a work trip with a male supervisor who allegedly brought sex objects. inappropriate with him during the trip.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction that will compel Activision Blizzard to comply with workplace protections, as well as pay unpaid wages, wage adjustments, back wages, and lost wages and benefits for employees.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson sent the following statement in response to the allegations:
We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusiveness for all. There is no place in our business or our industry, or in any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind. We take every allegation seriously and investigate all complaints. In cases related to misconduct, steps have been taken to address the issue.
The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We were extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with abundant data and documentation, but they declined to inform us of any issues they perceived. They were required by law to adequately investigate and have good faith discussions with us to better understand and resolve any claims or concerns before going to court, but they failed to do so. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court. We are disgusted by the reprehensible behavior of the DFEH to drag in the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose death has no impact on this case and without regard for her grieving family. While we find this behavior shameful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they behaved throughout their investigation. It is this type of irresponsible behavior by irresponsible state bureaucrats that are driving many of the best companies in the state out of California.
The image that DFEH presents is not today’s Blizzard workplace. Over the past few years and since the start of the initial survey, we have made significant changes to reflect the corporate culture and reflect more diversity within our leadership teams. We updated our Code of Conduct to emphasize a strict non-retaliation goal, amplified internal programs and channels for employees to report violations, including the “ASK List” with a hotline. confidential integrity; and established a dedicated employee relations team to investigate employees. concerns. We have strengthened our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and have combined our employee networks globally to provide additional support. Employees are also required to undergo regular anti-harassment training and have been doing so for many years.
We go to great lengths to create fair and rewarding compensation programs and policies that reflect our culture and our company, and we strive to pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take a variety of proactive measures to ensure that compensation is determined by non-discriminatory factors. For example, we reward and compensate employees based on their performance, and we conduct in-depth anti-discrimination training, including for those who are part of the compensation process.
We are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practices as an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse and inclusive workplace for our employees, and we are committed to continuing this effort in the years to come. It is a pity that the DFEH did not want to discuss with us what it thought it saw in its investigation.
Matt Kim is editor-in-chief at IGN.