The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging that employees have faced “constant sexual harassment, including palpations, comments and advances” due to a “culture of place of work of the brother boys ”. The lawsuit, which comes after more than two years of investigation, also alleges that Activision Blizzard women were paid less than men for the same roles and were promoted more slowly than they were. Activision Blizzard has vigorously denied the allegations in a response today.
The presentation states that "women were subjected to numerous sexual comments and advances, palpations and unwanted physical touch, and other forms of harassment," the study found. "Employees working on the World of Warcraft team noted that male employees and supervisors would attack them, make derogatory comments about the rape, and otherwise engage in degrading behavior," the complaint says. A former technology director is accused of "palpating female employees intoxicated at company events and was known to make hiring decisions based on the appearance of the applicants."
Several examples are cited, including a story about an employee suicide that the California department connects to harassment.
Complaints addressed to Activision Blizzard's human resources staff as well as executives, including Blizzard president J Allen Brack, were ineffective because "the complaints were treated superficially and contemptuously and were not kept confidential, "says the lawsuit, which caused the staff who complained to be" retaliated against, including, among other things, deprived of project work, inadvertently transferred to different units and selected for layoffs. ".
The lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard's black women were "particularly vulnerable targets" of discrimination. His manager had an "African-American employee working in information technology" his manager to "write a one-page summary" of how he would spend the free time he requested, which no one was obligated to do. to do, as reported by the agency.
Other women were assigned to lower-level roles, paid less, and went through promotion, the lawsuit says, "in favor of male counterparts who did not have the same experience or qualifications, but were friends of the male boss. the unit ".
“A newly promoted male supervisor delegated his responsibilities to his current subordinates in favor of playing Call of Duty,” it is said.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, alternative dispute resolution methods were apparently attempted, although ultimately "the parties involved were unable to resolve the administrative complaints." On behalf of the plaintiffs, the DFEH is seeking damages, unpaid wages and compensation of an amount to be determined by a jury trial.
An Activision Blizzard spokesman responded to the allegations in a statement sent to PC Gamer, claiming that the presentation included "distorted and, in many cases, false, descriptions of Blizzard's past." He goes on to say that the DFEH was "required by law to properly investigate and hold good faith conversations with us to better understand and resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they did not." "That, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will show in court."
Activision's statement also specifically responds to the suggestion in the complaint that the suicide death of an employee was related to the harassment, saying: "We are sick of the DFEH's reprehensible conviction. "Dragging in the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose transfer does not matter. Whatever it is in this case and without taking into account his family in distress."
He goes on to suggest that the file paints an inaccurate image of Activision Blizzard as it currently stands, saying: "Over the past few years and continuing since the initial research began, we have made significant changes to address the culture of Activision Blizzard. company and reflect more diversity within our leadership teams ”.
PC Gamer will update this story as more information becomes available.