Activision-Blizzard nears EEOC settlement as judge “prepared to approve” $18m fund

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Activision-Blizzard is nearing settlement on the first of its many sexual harassment lawsuits. A judge is “prepared to approve” an $18 million fund with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over their complaint about sexual discrimination and harassment.

Activision-Blizzard has been under the microscope after claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, and “pervasive frat boy culture” went public in July 2021. The filing by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) was the first of many as the SEC and others followed suit.

However, the company is now nearing settlement on its federal case from the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

U.S. District Court Judge Dale S. Fischer stated in a March 22 filing: “The Court has reviewed all filings in this matter and is prepared to approve the [settlement], subject to limited further argument and revisions addressing the Court’s concerns.

“The Court is generally satisfied that both the monetary relief and nonmonetary provisions are fair, reasonable, and adequate.”

This includes an $18 million settlement fund which victims can access. However, victims might not be able to access benefits from both the federal EEOC suit and the state DFEH suit ⁠— which is still in front of the courts.

“The DFEH will continue to vigorously prosecute its action against Activision in California state court,” DFEH spokesperson Fahizah Alim told the Washington Post.

That case is set to go to trial in February 2023 — just before Activision-Blizzard’s merger with Microsoft is set to clear.

The $18 million settlement will also go towards building new infrastructure within Activision-Blizzard to prevent further harassment and discrimination across a three-year agreement.

This includes expanding mental health services as well as implementing mandatory sexual harassment training.

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The $18 million settlement will go towards repaying victims as well as implementing new anti-harassment programs.

Activision-Blizzard originally agreed to the settlement back in September, but faced criticism from activists.

An October letter sent to the Court from the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union called the $18 million fund “woefully inadequate” and “would only provide the maximum settlement for only 60 workers”.

The Court labeled such objections, including the DFEH’s, as “simply inaccurate [or] based on speculation”.

Other motions, including one by former Blizzard employee Jessica Gonzalez, founder of the ‘A Better ABK’ Workers Alliance, to stop the settlement were also struck down.

Judge Fischer will hold a hearing on March 29 to discuss Activision-Blizzard’s settlement with the EEOC.