Activision-Blizzard’s $18M settlement with the EEOC is officially finalized


Yesterday saw the long fight among the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and Activision-Blizzard over an $18M settlement draw to a close as a US district judge approved the settlement and allowed it to go forward.

Readers will note that the initial settlement agreement reached by ActiBlizz and the EEOC was objected to by the DFEH, resulting in the state agency’s attempt to intervene in the matter, which was struck down by the judge hearing the initial case and then shortly appealed. The judge who approved the settlement agreed with the EEOC’s assessment that the DFEH intervention was “untimely” and said that anyone who disagrees with the settlement can take the matter to the ninth circuit court.

According to a legal expert who spoke with WAPO, this approval could ultimately take the wind out of the sails of the DFEH case, explaining that claimants for both the DFEH suit and the EEOC suit could choose to receive compensation from the EEOC settlement, but doing so would disqualify them from continuing on in the ongoing DFEH suit.

Activision-Blizzard took a public victory lap over the ruling, claiming that the company would continue enhancing its company policies and take on an EEOC-approved oversight consultant to ensure ActiBlizz complies with the settlement, while offering a nod to the hiring of Stacy Jackson, an internal EEO coordinator with “relevant experience in gender discrimination, harassment, and related retaliation,” on March 16th.

“The Court’s approval is a vital step in our journey to ensuring that everyone at Activision-Blizzard always feels safe, heard and empowered,” says CEO Bobby Kotick in the press release, who stands accused of threatening staff and yet has not been relieved of his position. “We hope the court’s findings – including its view that many of the objections raised about our settlement were inaccurate and speculative – will dispel any confusion that may exist. With all of the terms of the settlement reviewed and approved, we can move forward.”

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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