U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer approved a $18 million relief settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on March 29th. This settlement comes months after Activision Blizzard originally agreed to settle with the EEOC on September 27, 2021. But those attempting to hold the game publisher to account are split on how much of a win this will ultimately be for the victims of Activision Blizzard’s “frat boy” culture.
The settlement could prevent the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which is also pursuing legal action against Activision Blizzard, from seeking further monetary damages. This means the settlement could be a loss for both the DFEH’s case and sexual harassment victims of the company because state agency has historically been more aggressive than federal proceedings, like that of the EEOC.
The DFEH is pursuing its own lawsuit against the Call of Duty publisher, but the organizations claimed the EEOC settlement contains a clause that allows Activision Blizzard to remove sexual harassment allegations from the files of settlement claimants, hindering the DFEH trial. The EEOC’s opposition, which was filed March 24th, disputes this saying the consent decree does not require or authorize the destruction of these documents. The settlement also allows the publisher to use unclaimed funds for its own women’s charity funds. DFEH is wary that control over some of the money could return to the company that the settlement is meant to punish.
Last October, Communications Workers of America also filed an objection against the then-possible settlement with the EEOC. In the labor union’s view, $18 million dollars (or $450 per claimant) is a drop in the bucket for Activision Blizzard, which paid $150 million to its CEO Bobby Kotick in 2020. In fact, leaving Activision Blizzard will reportedly give Kotick a payout of $390 million dollars…an enormous amount of money for the man who received a vote of no confidence from 1,200 employees.
(All information was provided by Kotaku)
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