A “frat boy” atmosphere, complete with heavy drinking and rampant sexual harassment, has finally come to an end at Activision Blizzard in Santa Monica, California.
Last year, employees of the video game publisher accused the company of failing to address their complaints. They say one of the company’s leaders even had a private office where he would allegedly grope and kiss female employees. It was nicknamed “The Cosby Suite,” and things got so bad that one victim of the harassment reportedly took her own life.
Now Activision Blizzard has agreed to settle the $18 million sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed in September by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The multi-million settlement with the EEOC is the second largest sexual harassment settlement ever negotiated by the agency.
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, released a statement on the settlement, saying it “reflects our unwavering commitment to ensure a safe and equitable working environment for all employees.”
“Our goal is to make Activision Blizzard a model for the industry, and we will continue to focus on eliminating harassment and discrimination from our workplace,” Kotick said.
Strict New Company Policies
Activision Blizzard has already taken steps to address the problems. They now have a zero-tolerance harassment policy. They also quadrupled the size of its Ethics & Compliance team, donated $1 million to WIGI to advance the success of women in the gaming industry and developed strict company policies against alcohol use.
The EEOC filed the sexual harassment lawsuit in September. This week’s multi-million dollar settlement also includes a 3-year consent decree. This requires the company to submit to ongoing conduct audits and reviews of company policies for handling complaints. It also requires them to provide anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. The HR pros at Activision Blizzard will be trained on workplace investigations and they will maintain accurate records of all complaints and investigations.
California Employment Law Attorney
Employees should never have to endure sexual harassment in the workplace. In fact, the State of California labor laws protect vulnerable employees. These laws also ensure workers are paid minimum wage, overtime, receive uninterrupted meal breaks and therefore not be mistreated by management. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sexual assault, lost overtime wages, garnishing of tips or any other Labor Code violation.
If you have suffered sexual harassment or other abuses by a supervisor or co-worker, we urge you to speak to a qualified employment law attorney about your rights. You may contact Johnson Attorneys Group to request a free consultation at 855-918-2240.