Warning: Content listed in this article includes violations of state civil rights, harassment, and abuse.
On July 212, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft developer Activision Blizzard. The lawsuit is in reference to allegations of unequal pay, inequality, sexual harassment and influencing “frat boy” culture. It has been reported that Activision Blizzard was allowing the abuse and harassment of women in their workforce for years.
“To enforce such compliance”, the case says, “DFEH brings this government enforcement action seeking to remedy, prevent and deter [Activision Blizzard’s] violations of state’s civil rights and equal pay laws.”
Activision responded to the DFEH’s suit: (suit info from kotaku)
We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone. There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind. We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue. The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived. They were required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court. We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to drag into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no bearing whatsoever on this case and with no regard for her grieving family. While we find this behavior to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they have conducted themselves throughout the course of their investigation. It is this type of irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California. The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today. Over the past several years and continuing since the initial investigation started, we’ve made significant changes to address company culture and reflect more diversity within our leadership teams.
We’ve updated our Code of Conduct to emphasize a strict non-retaliation focus, amplified internal programs and channels for employees to report violations, including the “ASK List” with a confidential integrity hotline, and introduced an Employee Relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns.
We have strengthened our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and combined our Employee Networks at a global level, to provide additional support. Employees must also undergo regular anti-harassment training and have done so for many years. We put tremendous effort in creating fair and rewarding compensation packages and policies that reflect our culture and business, and we strive to pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take a variety of proactive steps to ensure that pay is driven by non-discriminatory factors. For example, we reward and compensate employees based on their performance, and we conduct extensive anti-discrimination trainings including for those who are part of the compensation process.
We are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practices as an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace for our people, and we are committed to continuing this effort in the years to come. It is a shame that the DFEH did not want to engage with us on what they thought they were seeing in their investigation.
Jason Schreier Comments:
Jason Schreier stated an Activision Blizzard spokesman responded with lengthy statement calling the allegations ‘distorted, and in many cases false.
Activision Blizzard’s male workers were reported to have acted irresponsible in their work ethics.
Work Ethics: obeying the company’s rules, effective communication, taking responsibility, accountability, professionalism, trust, and mutual respect for your colleagues at work.
They displayed unethical behavior by reporting to work hung over after being intoxicated, harassing female workers, passing their work responsibilities to female workers while they played video games, and engaging in sexual harassment comments: inappropriate discussions of female bodies and jokes about rape.
In addition, to these allegations it was stated that Activision Blizzard overlooked female employees due to the possibility of them stating a family and criticized current mothers for picking up their child from daycare or school.