Activision Blizzard Settles California Workplace Discrimination Suite for $54 Million

Activision Blizzard’s sexual harassment discrimination suit has finally settled for $54 million. The California Civil Rights Department sued Activision Blizzard in September 2021, alleging that the video game company had discriminated against women in the company. This discrimination included denying promotion opportunities, paying women less than men for substantially similar work, and failed to adequately address sexual harassment claims.

Employees signed a petition criticizing the company for its handling of the lawsuit and staged a walkout. Microsoft subsequently purchased Activision Blizzard for $69 billion in October 2022.

Under the terms of the settlement, women who worked for Activision Blizzard between October 12, 2015 and December 31, 2020, may be qualified for compensation. Approximately $45.7 million of the settlement has been set aside for such payouts. Activision Blizzard also agreed to ensure fair pay and promotion practices going forward. Like most settlement agreements, Activision Blizzard continues to deny any wrongdoing by the company or its leadership.

Earlier in 2023, Activision Blizzard had settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $35million to resolve whistleblower protection violations and disclosure requirement violations.

Developing Best Practices to Resolve Discriminatory Complaints

Many lawsuits occur because people allow disagreements to escalate to the point where one side believes they have to file a lawsuit to assert their rights. Employers can resolve some of these conflicts before they turn into lawsuits by being assertive in addressing employee complaints. Below are three steps to get started on how employers can be proactive in dealing with potential discrimination complaints.

· Develop a Written Policy

Having written anti-discrimination procedures can help a company in two ways. First, written policies will increase employee and management awareness of the company’s policies. Second, such policies will be evidence that the company is in compliance with anti-discrimination laws if a lawsuit is filed. The written policies should be handed to all employees and displayed in a prominent place where employees often gather.

· Educate Workers about Discrimination

Employees should be aware of potential discrimination issues in the workplace. Some states require employers to conduct anti-discriminatory training. For instance, California requires employees receive sexual harassment training every other year. It might be a good idea to have separate training for supervisors and managers so that they know what to do when a complaint arises.

· Establish a Process to Resolve Discrimination

Employees who feel they have been discriminated again should have a process to report the issue to the appropriate responsive authority. This responsive authority could be the employee’s own supervisor or manager, department head, or human resources representative. Having this process in place will enable a company to respond to complaints and allow for resolution without potential expensive litigation.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Age Discrimination Claims?

It may be helpful to consult with a discrimination lawyer if you have any issues, questions, or concerns related to age discrimination. Your attorney can help you determine whether age discrimination occurred, assist you with filing a claim with the proper agency, and file a lawsuit, if it becomes necessary. Conversely, if your business is being sued for age discrimination, a skilled discrimination attorney can represent you in court and help defend you from the lawsuit.

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