Activision Blizzard Is Sued by California Over Workplace Culture

A California state company is suing Activision Blizzard, the online game maker that produces Call of Duty, over claims of sexual harassment and discrimination.

After a two-year investigation, the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing mentioned in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court that Activision fostered a “‘frat boy’ workplace culture.” Executives sexually harassed ladies, the company mentioned, and male staff overtly joked about rape and drank alcohol whereas participating in “inappropriate behavior” towards ladies at their cubicles throughout occasions generally known as “cube crawls.”

The lawsuit added that ladies had been routinely paid lower than males for related work and had been much less more likely to be promoted.

Activision’s workplace “is a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women,” the company wrote. “Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, including having to continually fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances by their male co-workers and supervisors and being groped at the ‘cube crawls’ and other company events.”

In one case, the lawsuit mentioned, a feminine worker died by suicide throughout a business journey, on account of her sexual relationship along with her male supervisor. Before her demise, male colleagues allegedly shared specific photographs of the lady, the lawsuit mentioned.

The lawsuit, which was reported earlier by Bloomberg Law, mentioned the company’s executives and human resources division failed to handle misconduct after they had been knowledgeable of it.

In a press release, Activision mentioned the “picture D.F.E.H. paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today,” including that the company tries to pay staff pretty and has labored to handle its tradition and enhance variety lately. Activision staff for years have undergone anti-harassment coaching, and the company mentioned it had created a confidential reporting hotline and staff that investigates worker issues, amongst different modifications.

“There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind,” Activision wrote. “In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue.”

The company mentioned California had did not correctly talk about the accusations with Activision earlier than suing, and it chided the company specifically for citing the worker suicide.

“It is this type of irresponsible behavior from unaccountable state bureaucrats that are driving many of the state’s best businesses out of California,” Activision wrote.

The state employment company declined to remark. It mentioned within the lawsuit that it wished Activision to compensate staff for unpaid wages, present additional recompense and pay punitive damages.

Activision, which is predicated in Santa Monica, Calif., and is price about $70 billion, has almost 10,000 staff. The company has faced criticism from its workers over wage disparities, particularly as shareholders narrowly approved a $155 million pay package for the chief government, Bobby Kotick, in June, making him one of many nation’s highest-paid prime executives.

Accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination are removed from unusual within the gaming business, the place sport studios’ work forces, particularly on the government stage, stay predominantly white and male. Last summer time, dozens of girls spoke out towards such conduct, accusing individuals at numerous firms of misconduct — together with at Activision and the French writer Ubisoft — and prompting extra requires reform. The truthful employment company has additionally pursued authorized motion towards Riot Games, the League of Legends sport maker, accusing it of intercourse discrimination and sexual harassment.

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