Activision Blizzard settles sexual harassment lawsuit for $18 million

A US judge approved Activision Blizzardin $18 million deal with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), closing one of many discrimination lawsuits brought against the company. O lawsuit had outlined details of sexual harassment, sex discrimination related to the treatment of pregnancy and retaliation against her female employees.

The deal was originally agreed in September 2021, but was put on hold after objections from the Department of Employment and Housing the following month. The two agencies have been fighting each other all along, each having its own individual process. While the DFEH argued that the liquidation of the EEOC would cause “irreparable damage“For its own lawsuit, the EEOC then reacted by claiming that the DFEH had two lawyers who were operating under ethical violations. Former Blizzard employee Jessica Gonzelez was also denied a motion to intervene in the proposed settlement.

Despite concerns that the EEOC settlement would undermine the DFEH’s own pursuit, District Judge Dale Fischer approved the settlement (thanks, Washington Post). The court filing from Tuesday’s hearing states, “The Court is generally satisfied that both the monetary relief and non-monetary provisions are fair, reasonable and adequate.”

The $18 million settlement will go towards harassment and discrimination prevention programs at Activision Blizzard, with oversight by the EEOC. The remaining funds will be donated to selected EEOC charities, with a focus on those related to women in the gaming industry and those addressing gender equality issues. It marks the second largest sexual harassment settlement for the EEOC (the largest is $20.5 million, achieved with Jackson Insurance Co), but the Communications Workers of America union called the sum “regrettably inadequate” last year.

While this is a lawsuit that Activision Blizzard can now put behind them, there are still at least three more lawsuits that are currently public, including the DFEH one. Fahizah Alim, a spokesperson for the agency, said it “will continue to vigorously prosecute your lawsuit against Activision.” The trial date is set for February 2023. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision-Blizzard continues.

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