Activision Blizzard is being sued by the State of California over what’s claimed to be a “pervasive ‘frat boy’ workplace culture” which is a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.”
The lawsuit, which was filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) seeks an injunction to force compliance with workplace protections while recouping unpaid wages, lost benefits, and pay adjustments.
The lawsuit claims that “female employees almost universally confirmed that working for Defendants was akin to working in a frat house, which invariable involved male employees drinking and subjecting female employees to sexual harassment with no repercussion.”
Throughout the lawsuit, there are reports of the extensive sexual harassment which some workers faced, such as numerous accounts of sexual comments being made against female staff, including jokes about rape, as well as reports of groping and people attempting to kiss female staff.
The lawsuit details how “this behaviour was known to supervisors, and indeed encouraged by them.” According to the DFEH’s findings, when female employees raised complaints about the misconduct they faced “defendants [Activision Blizzard] failed to take reasonable action in response to these complaints.”
The lawsuit also focuses on a “tragic example of the harassment that the Defendants allowed to fester in their offices,” in which a female employee committed suicide on a company trip due to a sexual relationship that she was having with her male supervisor.
As you might expect, Activision Blizzard has written a response to these allegations, which they provided to The Verge, as well as other publications. In this statement, Activision Blizzard state that “the picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today.”
Furthermore, in the statement, they claim that “the DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” Blizzard claims that since the start of the investigation they have “made significant changes to address company culture and reflect more diversity within our leadership teams.”