Blizard’s legal situation has now spread beyond the confines of California.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a complaint against Activision Blizzard. Citing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the US federal government accused Blizzard of unlawful gender discrimination and harassment.
Blizzard was initially sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July of 2021. The lawsuit revolved around the video game company’s “bro culture,” which includes male employees going to various female employees’ cubicles to harass them and making inappropriate comments.
The lawsuit also mentioned women being passed over for promotions, being unfairly micromanaged, and even a woman taking her own life after a male superior shared her nude photos with other members of the company.
Blizzard initially denied the allegations altogether, but ultimately took back that opening denial. That’s when other employees began coming forward with their own negative experiences. Some high-profile Blizzard employees stepped down from the company, including Chacko Sonny, executive producer of Overwatch and a lead developer on Overwatch 2.
But it seems things are only getting worse for Blizzard.
In the US government’s legal complaint, the EEOC discussed an investigation into Blizzard’s alleged discrimination against female employees. This includes lower pay and retaliation against female employees for complaining about said discrimination. If the investigation concludes that Blizzard is guilty of sex-based discrimination, the company would be violating Title VII.
In June 2021, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found “reasonable cause” that this discrimination was happening. The EEOC found proof of multiple unlawful practices in the form of sexual harassment, including retaliation and pregnancy discrimination.
“Employees were subjected to sexual harassment that was severe and pervasive to later the conditions of employment. The conduct was unwelcome and adversely affected the employees. The Defendants knew or should have known that the sexual harassment of the adversely affected employees,” the EEOC said.
Activision Blizzard released a response to this latest lawsuit. In its statement, Blizzard confirmed that it has reached an agreement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to settle claims.
Blizzard has “committed to create an $18 million fund to compensate and make amends to eligible claimants. The agreement is subject to court approval.”
“We will continue to be vigilant in our commitment to the elimination of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We thank the EEOC for its constructive engagement as we work to fulfill our commitments to eradicate inappropriate conduct in the workplace,” Blizzard stated.