Wealthy Polk/Getty Photographs for Activision
The online game studio behind the hit franchises Name of Responsibility, World of Warcraft and Sweet Crush is dealing with a civil lawsuit in California over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and potential violations of the state’s equal pay legislation.
A complaint, filed by the state Division of Honest Employment and Housing on Wednesday, alleges that Activision Blizzard Inc. “fostered a sexist tradition” the place ladies had been paid lower than males and subjected to ongoing sexual harassment together with groping. (Activision and Blizzard Leisure merged in 2008.)
Officers on the gaming firm knew in regards to the harassment and never solely didn’t cease it however retaliated towards ladies who spoke up, the grievance additionally alleges.
Years after the net harassment marketing campaign referred to as Gamergate focused ladies within the online game world, the California lawsuit depicts an business that may nonetheless be unwelcoming and even hostile to feminine workers.
“All employers ought to be certain that their workers are being paid equally and take all steps to forestall discrimination, harassment, and retaliation,” stated DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “That is particularly essential for employers in male-dominated industries, akin to know-how and gaming.”
In a press release supplied to NPR, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson stated the corporate had labored to enhance its firm tradition lately and accused the DFEH of not adequately making an attempt to resolve the claims towards it earlier than resorting to a lawsuit.
“The DFEH consists of distorted, and in lots of circumstances false, descriptions of Blizzard’s previous,” the assertion learn. “The image the DFEH paints just isn’t the Blizzard office of at this time.”
Ladies workers had been paid much less and assigned lower-level jobs, the grievance says
The lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard’s feminine staff who spoke to investigators “virtually universally confirmed” that their time on the firm was “akin to working in a frat home.”
Male workers drank on the job and got here to work hungover, the lawsuit stated. The alleged sexual harassment ranged from feedback about ladies’s our bodies and jokes about rape to the undesirable touching of feminine workers by their male friends.
The grievance, which was the results of a two-year investigation by DFEH, claims that the unequal remedy of girls went past firm tradition to the extra formal components of their jobs.
Ladies had been allegedly paid lower than males, each after they had been employed and through the course of their employment. They had been additionally assigned to lower-level positions and handed over for promotions, regardless of doing extra work than their male friends in some circumstances, in response to the lawsuit. One girl stated her supervisor instructed her she would not be promoted as a result of “she would possibly get pregnant and like being a mother an excessive amount of.”
The intercourse discrimination was even worse for girls of coloration, the swimsuit claims. No less than two African-American ladies reported being singled out and micromanaged.
Among the ladies who got here ahead with complaints of discrimination or harassment confronted involuntary transfers, had been chosen for layoffs or had been denied sure alternatives, the swimsuit stated.
Activision Blizzard says it would not tolerate sexual misconduct
Activision Blizzard, in its assertion, stated it didn’t tolerate sexual misconduct or harassment and famous that investigated all claims, including that it was making it simpler for workers to report violations.
The corporate additionally stated it strives to pay its workers “pretty for equal or considerably comparable work” and be certain that pay is pushed by “non-discriminatory elements,” akin to efficiency.
“We’re assured in our skill to display our practices as an equal alternative employer that fosters a supportive, numerous, and inclusive office for our folks, and we’re dedicated to persevering with this effort within the years to return,” the spokesperson stated. “It’s a disgrace that the DFEH didn’t wish to have interaction with us on what they thought they had been seeing of their investigation.”
However a number of former workers took to social media Wednesday after the lawsuit was filed to corroborate a number of the allegations it contained.
“Blizzard has claimed that the DFEH report is fake/deceptive/irresponsible,” former Blizzard Leisure worker Cher Scarlett tweeted. “I can let you know that I knew what was going to be on this report earlier than I learn it as a result of throughout my time there – for under a YEAR – I witnessed ALL OF THESE THINGS.”