Activision Blizzard sued by California over alleged sexist ‘frat boy’ culture

Activision Blizzard is going through a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for fostering what the company describes as a “frat boy” office. As first reported by Bloomberg Law, the DFEH sued the gaming large after a two-year investigation whereby it got here to the conclusion that the corporate discriminated towards feminine staff. In addition to receiving smaller salaries than their male counterparts, feminine staff had been additionally allegedly subjected to fixed sexual harassment.

The DFEH enumerated a number of findings from its investigation in its complaint (PDF). Activision Blizzard’s workforce is simply about 20 % ladies, and only a few of them attain prime roles within the firm, the court docket doc reads. Further, those that do attain increased roles earn much less wage and whole compensation than their male friends. Other feminine staff in non-executive roles are additionally paid much less, promoted extra slowly and terminated extra rapidly.

DFEH additionally stated that the defendant’s “frat boy” culture is a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” Female staff always should fend off undesirable sexual feedback, the company wrote. They should endure being groped throughout “cube crawls,” by which male staff would drink alcohol as they make their method round numerous cubicles, as nicely. The doc talked about one notably egregious case, by which a feminine worker took her personal life throughout a enterprise journey with a male supervisor who introduced intercourse toys with him on the journey. According to Bloomberg, that worker was severely harassed previous to her demise, along with her nude photographs handed round throughout an organization vacation occasion.

Activision Blizzard’s HR division acquired plenty of harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaints, the DFEH stated. However, the defendant allegedly did not take “effective remedial measures in response” to them. Also, folks had been apparently discouraged from making complaints, since human useful resource personnel had been identified to be near the alleged harassers.

The state company has filed the lawsuit to pressure the online game titan to adjust to California’s office protections. It’s additionally searching for unpaid wages and pay changes for feminine staff.

Activision Blizzard, nonetheless, denies DEFH’s allegations. In a press release, the corporate stated that the company’s lawsuit “includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” It known as the DFEH’s criticism “inaccurate” and described the lawsuit because the “type of irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.”

The complete assertion, courtesy of Kotaku, reads:

“We worth range and attempt to foster a office that provides inclusivity for everybody. There is not any place in our firm or trade, or any trade, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any sort. We take each allegation critically and examine all claims. In circumstances associated to misconduct, motion was taken to handle the problem.

The DFEH contains distorted, and in lots of circumstances false, descriptions of Blizzard’s previous. We have been extraordinarily cooperative with the DFEH all through their investigation, together with offering them with intensive information and ample documentation, however they refused to tell us what points they perceived. They had been required by regulation to adequately examine and to have good religion discussions with us to raised perceive and to resolve any claims or issues earlier than going to litigation, however they failed to take action. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate criticism, as we are going to display in court docket. We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to pull into the criticism the tragic suicide of an worker whose passing has no bearing in any way on this case and with no regard for her grieving household. While we discover this conduct to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it’s sadly an instance of how they’ve performed themselves all through the course of their investigation. It is any such irresponsible conduct from unaccountable State bureaucrats which are driving lots of the State’s finest companies out of California.

The image the DFEH paints isn’t the Blizzard office of at this time. Over the previous a number of years and persevering with because the preliminary investigation began, we’ve made important adjustments to handle firm culture and replicate extra range inside our management groups. We’ve up to date our Code of Conduct to emphasise a strict non-retaliation focus, amplified inner packages and channels for workers to report violations, together with the “ASK List” with a confidential integrity hotline, and launched an Employee Relations crew devoted to investigating worker issues. We have strengthened our dedication to range, fairness and inclusion and mixed our Employee Networks at a worldwide stage, to offer further assist. Employees should additionally endure common anti-harassment coaching and have achieved so for a few years.

We put great effort in creating honest and rewarding compensation packages and insurance policies that replicate our culture and enterprise, and we try to pay all staff pretty for equal or considerably related work. We take a wide range of proactive steps to make sure that pay is pushed by non-discriminatory components. For instance, we reward and compensate staff based mostly on their efficiency, and we conduct intensive anti-discrimination trainings together with for individuals who are a part of the compensation course of.

We are assured in our capacity to display our practices as an equal alternative employer that fosters a supportive, various, and inclusive office for our folks, and we’re dedicated to persevering with this effort within the years to return. It is a disgrace that the DFEH didn’t wish to have interaction with us on what they thought they had been seeing of their investigation.”

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