Activision Blizzard Is Sued by California Over Workplace Culture

A California state company is suing Activision Blizzard, the online game maker that produces Name of Obligation, over claims of sexual harassment and discrimination.

After a two-year investigation, the state’s Division of Honest Employment and Housing stated in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court docket that Activision fostered a “‘frat boy’ office tradition.” Executives sexually harassed ladies, the company stated, and male staff brazenly joked about rape and drank alcohol whereas participating in “inappropriate habits” towards ladies at their cubicles throughout occasions referred to as “dice crawls.”

The lawsuit added that girls have been routinely paid lower than males for related work and have been much less prone to be promoted.

Activision’s office “is a breeding floor for harassment and discrimination towards ladies,” the company wrote. “Feminine staff are subjected to fixed sexual harassment, together with having to repeatedly fend off undesirable sexual feedback and advances by their male co-workers and supervisors and being groped on the ‘dice crawls’ and different firm occasions.”

In a single case, the lawsuit stated, a feminine worker died by suicide throughout a enterprise journey, because of her sexual relationship together with her male supervisor. Earlier than her loss of life, male colleagues allegedly shared express images of the girl, the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit, which was reported earlier by Bloomberg Legislation, stated the corporate’s executives and human sources division failed to deal with misconduct after they have been knowledgeable of it.

In a press release, Activision stated the “image D.F.E.H. paints is just not the Blizzard office of right this moment,” including that the corporate tries to pay staff pretty and has labored to deal with its tradition and enhance range in recent times. Activision staff for years have undergone anti-harassment coaching, and the corporate stated it had created a confidential reporting hotline and group that investigates worker considerations, amongst different adjustments.

“There isn’t any place in our firm or business, or any business, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any type,” Activision wrote. “In instances associated to misconduct, motion was taken to deal with the problem.”

The corporate stated California had didn’t correctly talk about the accusations with Activision earlier than suing, and it chided the company particularly for citing the worker suicide.

“It’s the sort of irresponsible habits from unaccountable state bureaucrats which can be driving lots of the state’s greatest companies out of California,” Activision wrote.

The state employment company declined to remark. It stated within the lawsuit that it wished Activision to compensate staff for unpaid wages, present additional recompense and pay punitive damages.

Activision, which relies in Santa Monica, Calif., and is price about $70 billion, has practically 10,000 staff. The corporate has confronted criticism from its staff over wage disparities, particularly as shareholders narrowly permitted a $155 million pay package deal for the chief govt, Bobby Kotick, in June, making him one of many nation’s highest-paid prime executives.

Accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination are removed from unusual within the gaming business, the place recreation studios’ work forces, particularly on the govt stage, stay predominantly white and male. Final summer season, dozens of girls spoke out towards such habits, accusing folks at numerous firms of misconduct — together with at Activision and the French writer Ubisoft — and prompting extra requires reform. The honest employment company has additionally pursued authorized motion towards Riot Video games, the League of Legends recreation maker, accusing it of intercourse discrimination and sexual harassment.

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