After more than two years, the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) and gaming giant Activision Blizzard have reached a settlement for approximately $54 million. The CRD had filed a high-profile lawsuit against the company, accusing it of widespread gender discrimination and pay inequality. The settlement, subject to court approval, addresses pay and promotion inequality between 2015 and 2020. While the CRD withdrew harassment-related claims, it found no court or independent investigation had substantiated allegations of systemic sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard.
The settlement focuses on fair pay and promotion practices, with Activision Blizzard taking additional steps and providing monetary relief to women employed or contracting between October 2015 and December 2020. Approximately $45 million of the sum will go to a settlement fund for compensating workers, and any excess funds will support charitable organizations promoting gender equality issues in the workplace and advancing women in video games and tech.
This news comes after Activision Blizzard faced legal and regulatory scrutiny, leading to Microsoft's acquisition of the gaming company. The CRD had initially estimated the liability at nearly $1 billion, highlighting the historic nature of the settlement. Activision Blizzard, under scrutiny for fostering a "frat boy" culture, will now implement new obligations related to fair compensation and promotion policies. The CRD acknowledged that no court or independent investigation substantiated allegations of widespread sexual harassment, signaling a resolution to a significant legal battle that garnered attention in the gaming industry. Activision Blizzard's CEO, Bobby Kotick, confirmed his role until the end of 2023 amid the acquisition, with a new CEO yet to be announced.
Furthermore, the settlement reflects ongoing efforts to address workplace discrimination and underscores the impact of regulatory and legal pressures on corporate practices. While the settlement aims to bring direct relief to affected women, it also highlights the evolving landscape where companies face heightened scrutiny for fostering discriminatory cultures and pay disparities. The resolution signals a commitment to implementing fair practices and represents a significant development in the ongoing conversation around workplace equality and accountability.