For this and other reasons, the state agency is suing Activision Blizzard, accusing the video game maker of gender pay discrimination and allowing incidents of sexual harassment to go unresolved.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, follows a two-year DFEH investigation into Activision’s corporate culture that found evidence that women were sexually harassed, including Groping and unwanted advances, as well as wage inequalities for women across the company, state officials said this week.
Activision, the makers of World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and other popular video games, said Thursday the claims were inaccurate. “The image [DFEH] paintings is not today’s Blizzard workplace, ”a company spokesperson said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, adding,“ We have made significant changes to meet the culture of company and reflect more diversity within our management teams. “
Activision chairman J. Allen Brack, however, emailed employees on Friday about the California lawsuit and said “the behavior detailed in the allegations is totally unacceptable”, calling them “extremely disturbing” , Bloomberg reported.
Drunk “cube ramp”
In lawsuit, state officials accuse Activision Blizzard top executives, all white males, to allow other male employees to regularly torment female colleagues. The workplace culture had become so toxic that an employee committed suicide, according to the lawsuit.
“In the office, women are subjected to cube crawls in which male employees drink large amounts of alcohol as they” crawl “into various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior towards female employees,” the lawsuit says. .
Despite complaints filed by employees with human resources, company officials never took significant steps to improve conditions, according to the lawsuit, resulting in “a great lack of trust” between the employees and the team. Activision HR.
According to court documents, an employee committed suicide while on a corporate trip due to a sexual relationship she had with her male supervisor. Court documents say the deceased woman suffered continued sexual harassment at work prior to her death, including an incident at a holiday party where male colleagues circulated a graphic nude photo of the employee, the lawsuit said .
Activision Blizzard slammed California officials in its statement, saying the Fair Employment Department was supposed to investigate the workplace and then have “good faith discussions” with executives about their findings, but did not. did not. The company also said it was callous for state officials to mention the deceased employee.
“We are disgusted by the reprehensible conduct of [DFEH] 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, ”said the spokesperson.
According to the DFEH in its complaint, the attempts made by the agency to resolve the dispute “without litigation” were unsuccessful.
Women promoted more slowly, dismissed faster
Activision Blizzard is a Fortune 500 company with approximately 9,500 employees worldwide, 20 percent of whom are women, according to court documents.
Women employees are often given lower-level, lower-paying jobs, according to the lawsuit. Women are promoted more slowly, fired faster and hired based on their appearance, state officials said. Activision Blizzard has also dismissed these allegations.
“We reward and compensate employees based on their performance and we run in-depth anti-discrimination training, including for those who are part of the compensation process,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Activision Blizzard is just one of the employers accused in recent years of cultivating toxic work environments for men. Sports bar stool, WeWork, Uber,and tech companies have struggled to keep their offices free from harassment for female employees.
“All employers must ensure that their employees are paid equally and take all measures to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation,” Kevin Kish, director of the fair employment department, said in a statement. . “This is especially important for employers in male-dominated industries, such as tech and games. ”