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An update on the Activision Blizzard harassment saga

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2021 | Employment Law, Sexual Harassment

This blog often highlights reported incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination that strike large and small companies. Indeed, in a blog back in July, we discussed the ongoing Activision Blizzard sexual harassment and discrimination saga.

The end of the EEOC complaint

Back in July, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced it was charging Activision Blizzard with illegal sexual harassment discrimination, stating they created a “bro” culture that led to an environment rife with discriminatory sexual abuse. This was in addition to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing that made similar allegations, along with Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenas. In September though, the EEOC reached an $18 million settlement with the company through a consent decree.

The EEOC consent decree

The consent decree did not just include a monetary settlement though. It also included several changes to how Activision Blizzard operates internally. Specifically, they are hiring a, “Chief People Officer.” This person will be in charge of creating new, more inclusive, employment practices, policies and anti-discrimination training. The CPO will also revamp the performance review system to focus on equal opportunity.

Mandatory arbitration stopped and zero-tolerance enacted

In the past, as a pre-requisite to employment, employees had to agree to mandatory arbitration for all sexual harassment and discrimination claims. Any employees who chose not to sign these agreements would not be hired. However, at the end of October, the CEO, Bobby Kotick, announced the company now waives these mandatory arbitration agreements based on employee feedback. They also enacted a zero-tolerance harassment policy. Under this new, more inclusive policy, if an employee or manager retaliates against any other employee for making a sexual harassment or discrimination claim, that retaliating employee or manager will be fired, immediately.

For our Pasadena, California, and other state residents, this shows that both our local government and the federal government takes sexual harassment or discrimination claims seriously, even if some employers do not. This is why when one is a victim of illegal discrimination, they should fight for their rights.


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