July 22, 2021

California State Sues Activision Blizzard

A major US gaming company is being sued by a California state agency over its alleged “frat boy culture”, which includes harassment and engaging in unfair practices against female employees.

For the past 13 years, Activision Blizzard has created and published renowned video game franchises including “Call of Duty”, “Guitar Hero”, and “Overwatch”.

However, the company has come under fire after California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, 20 July, following a two-year investigation into its allegedly appalling workplace conduct.

According to the lawsuit, female employees – particularly those of colour – were subjected to inappropriate behaviour by male executives and colleagues who frequently drunk alcohol, made sexual and rape-related jokes, and groped women in their cubicles during “cube crawls” and company events.

Additionally, unequal pay and unpaid wages, being passed over for promotion, and being delegated to their male colleagues’ responsibilities allegedly form part of this workplace culture.

In response, the DFEH wants Activision Blizzard to enforce proper workplace protections, as well as compensate female employees for “unpaid wages, pay adjustments, back pay, and lost wages and benefits.”

Activision Blizzard has since emphasised itself as “an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace for our people”, while also criticising DFEH’s lawsuit for painting them in a negative light.

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