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 often known as “cube crawls.”

The lawsuit added that girls had been routinely paid lower than males for comparable work and had been much less prone to be promoted.

Activision’s office “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 enterprise journey, because of her sexual relationship together with her male supervisor. Before her loss of life, male colleagues allegedly shared specific pictures of the girl, the lawsuit mentioned.

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

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

“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 firm mentioned California had didn’t correctly talk about the accusations with Activision earlier than suing, and it chided the company particularly for mentioning 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 needed Activision to compensate staff for unpaid wages, present additional recompense and pay punitive damages.

Activision, which relies in Santa Monica, Calif., and is value about $70 billion, has practically 10,000 staff. The firm has confronted criticism from its staff over wage disparities, particularly as shareholders narrowly permitted a $155 million pay package deal for the chief govt, Bobby Kotick, in June, making him one of many nation’s highest-paid high executives.

Accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination are removed from unusual within the gaming business, the place sport studios’ work forces, particularly on the govt degree, stay predominantly white and male. Last summer time, dozens of girls spoke out in opposition to such habits, accusing folks at varied 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 in opposition to Riot Games, the League of Legends sport maker, accusing it of intercourse discrimination and sexual harassment.