The United States (US) District Court for the Central District of California entered a consent decree between the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. over allegations of discrimination and harassment in its esports leagues.
The lawsuit, which claims that Activision Blizzard violated federal discrimination laws by creating a culture of harassment and discrimination against female employees and players in Overwatch and Call of Duty esports tournaments, was filed on December 22, 2021. It follows a two-year investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment. The three-year consent decree includes $18 million in injunctive and monetary relief.
"We commend the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences with us," Acting Director of the EEOC's Los Angeles District, Christine Park-Gonzalez, said in a statement. "We hope that former and current employees of Activision take advantage of the comprehensive relief secured by the EEOC on their behalf so that they can move forward."
The investigation found that the company had a culture of sexism and harassment that was pervasive and rampant throughout the company, including towards pregnant employees. According to the lawsuit, Activision Blizzard's actions violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, retaliating against those who reported discrimination or harassment and fostering a hostile work environment.
As a result of the ruling, Activision arranged to undergo significant injunctive relief. This includes an EEOC consultant, audits on all complaints (pending and current), unannounced audits of current employees, and semi-annual reports. They are also set to employ anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training, expand their mental health counseling services for all employees, create a central tracking system for all complaints, and implement a toll-free hotline for employees to lodge complaints anonymously.
Those who believe they experienced sexual harassment and discrimination while employed at Activision Blizzard, Inc., Activision Publishing, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment Inc., King.com Inc., or any of their subsidiaries may be entitled to compensation as a result of this ruling. Potential claimants are encouraged to contact the EEOC at email@example.com or the Claims Administrator at Activision at firstname.lastname@example.org.