Activision Blizzard Sued by California Over Allegations of ‘Frat Boy Tradition’ And Sexual Harassment

Following a two-year investigation by the California Division of Honest Employment and Housing, the state has filed a lawsuit towards Activision Blizzard for fostering a “frat boy” tradition during which feminine workers are allegedly subjected to unequal pay and sexual harassment.

As reported by Bloomberg, Activision Blizzard is being accused by the state of California of discriminating towards feminine workers at practically all ranges of employment, together with with regard to compensation, promotion, assignments, and termination. The state alleges Activision Blizzard’s management has failed to handle any of those excellent points or stop them from occurring throughout the office. You possibly can learn the complete particulars of the lawsuit right here.

The swimsuit, filed Tuesday within the Los Angeles Superior Courtroom, says Activision Blizzard — which is made up of about 20 p.c girls — assigns girls, and ladies of colour, to “decrease paid and decrease alternative ranges” with decrease beginning pay for related work as their male counterparts.

The paperwork additionally accuse Activision Blizzard of fostering a “pervasive ‘frat boy’ office tradition within the workplace. Male workers are mentioned to drink “copious quantities of alcohol” as they make their method via cubicles and “usually interact in inappropriate habits towards feminine workers.”

Male workers are mentioned to return to work hungover, play video video games throughout work “whereas delegating their tasks to feminine workers, interact in banter about their sexual encounters, speak brazenly about feminine our bodies, and joke about rape.”

The lawsuit additionally cites one explicit incident the place a feminine worker, who was already subjected to intense sexual harassment on the firm, dedicated suicide throughout a piece journey with a male supervisor who allegedly introduced inappropriate, sexual objects with him on the journey.

The lawsuit is asking for an injunction that may drive Activision Blizzard to adjust to office protections, in addition to ship unpaid wages, pay changes, again pay, and misplaced wages and advantages for feminine workers.

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson despatched the next assertion in response to the allegations:

We worth range and attempt to foster a office that gives inclusivity for everybody. There isn’t any place in our firm or business, or any business, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any sort. We take each allegation critically and examine all claims. In circumstances associated to misconduct, motion was taken to handle the problem. 

The DFEH contains distorted, and in lots of circumstances false, descriptions of Blizzard’s previous. We’ve been extraordinarily cooperative with the DFEH all through their investigation, together with offering them with in depth knowledge and ample documentation, however they refused to tell us what points they perceived.  They had been required by regulation to adequately examine and to have good religion discussions with us to raised perceive and to resolve any claims or issues earlier than going to litigation, however they failed to take action.  As a substitute, they rushed to file an inaccurate grievance, as we’ll show in court docket. We’re sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to pull into the grievance the tragic suicide of an worker whose passing has no bearing in any respect on this case and with no regard for her grieving household.  Whereas we discover this habits to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it’s sadly an instance of how they’ve carried out themselves all through the course of their investigation. It’s the sort of irresponsible habits from unaccountable State bureaucrats which are driving lots of the State’s finest companies out of California. 

The image the DFEH paints just isn’t the Blizzard office of immediately. Over the previous a number of years and persevering with for the reason that preliminary investigation began, we’ve made vital modifications to handle firm tradition and mirror extra range inside our management groups. We’ve up to date our Code of Conduct to emphasise a strict non-retaliation focus, amplified inner packages and channels for workers to report violations, together with the “ASK Checklist” with a confidential integrity hotline, and launched an Worker Relations staff devoted to investigating worker issues. We’ve strengthened our dedication to range, fairness and inclusion and mixed our Worker Networks at a worldwide stage, to offer further help. Staff should additionally endure common anti-harassment coaching and have performed so for a few years. 

We put super effort in creating truthful and rewarding compensation packages and insurance policies that mirror our tradition and enterprise, and we try to pay all workers pretty for equal or considerably related work. We take quite a lot of proactive steps to make sure that pay is pushed by non-discriminatory components. For instance, we reward and compensate workers primarily based on their efficiency, and we conduct in depth anti-discrimination trainings together with for individuals who are a part of the compensation course of. 

We’re assured in our skill to show our practices as an equal alternative employer that fosters a supportive, numerous, and inclusive office for our folks, and we’re dedicated to persevering with this effort within the years to return. It’s a disgrace that the DFEH didn’t wish to interact with us on what they thought they had been seeing of their investigation.

Matt Kim is a Information Editor at IGN.

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