The judge approved Activision Blizzard’s settlement with the EEOC over the sexual harassment case

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer said during a virtual zoom hearing on the settlement on March 29 that he could not prevent anyone from appealing, but his intention was to sign the agreement.

“I’m going to sign the approval order, which will end this case,” Fischer called on the DFEH representative, who first filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard and asked that the settlement be delayed. “You have already filed a petition. Your request is not timely. Speak in the 9th Circuit. ”

Sep. Anyone who has worked with Activision Blizzard from 1, 2016 to date, in particular, can submit a request regarding sexual harassment, revenge or pregnancy discrimination. The EEOC only has to choose the solution, so claimants must submit documents to consider for relief.

Those who choose to become part of the EEOC solution will relinquish their right to be part of the California State Agency’s case on specific issues, such as harassment, revenge, or pregnancy discrimination. If they have other claims – for example, pay inequality not covered under the EEOC Agreement with Activision Blizzard – these former or current Activision Blizzard employees may still sue the California State. Each person’s case depends on their experience in the company.

“You will not get a double dip. That fact must be taken into account. ” “There is a lot of confusion around that. We want to encourage everyone to make a very informed decision.

In a press release issued after Tuesday’s settlement, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kodik said: “We want to set an example for the industry and continue to focus on eliminating harassment and discrimination from our workplace. This is an important step in ensuring that there are withdrawal mechanisms in place.

Following the compromise, EEOC spokeswoman Nicole St. Germain said she was pleased with the group’s decision.

Two women who had previously worked at Activision Blizzard, but left the company, told The Post that they were applying to be the claimants in the EEOC case because they wanted the company to take responsibility.

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“For me, I want a resolution. I want something to happen,” said a former Activision Blizzard employee from Texas who said he faced sexual harassment, discrimination and gender while at the company. “I do not want to pull it off anymore. I think this is the most important thing at this point because I think people need to see that there is an end to it and an outcome.

EEOC, a federal agency and DFEH, a state agency, share jurisdiction over workplace sexual harassment cases, and both companies received anonymous tips in 2018 to investigate the Activision blizzard. There was a disagreement between the two companies How much should be paid to the victims of the settlement, and a federal-level settlement between the EEOC and Activision Blizzard could prevent DFEH from pursuing further damage at the state level. Final approval for the September settlement was postponed to March because of persistent back-and-forth between the agencies.

“DFEH will continue to actively pursue its action against Activision in the California State Court,” DFEH spokeswoman Fahizah Alim said in a statement last week. “In recent weeks, DFEH has defeated Activision’s request that the court dismiss DFEH’s case, and has sought documents and other evidence of years of sexual harassment, discrimination, and revenge violations by DFEH activation. The court has set a trial date of February 2023.

Critics of the EEOC solution include, in addition to DFEH, a significant number of Activision Blissart workers and their partner, the Media Labor Union Communications Workers of America (CWA). They believe $ 18 million is not enough for hundreds or more victims. In Letter sent to EEOC on October 6, The CWA said $ 18 million was “not bad enough” and that Activision had “serious concerns” about the Hurricane staff and the CWA in the settlement agreement. EEOC lawyers say $ 18 million is still a substantial sum, and since the majority of the 10,000 Activision blizzard employees are men, there may not be thousands of claimants in the fund split. The $ 18 million settlement with EEOC is the second largest sexual harassment solution the company has ever negotiated.

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“We’re sure there’s enough money in that $ 18 million,” Elena Paca, a partner at law firm Paul Hastings and legal adviser to Activision Blizzard in the EEOC case, told The Post. “When you look at other settlements, sometimes people think, ‘Well, everyone who works should be paid,’ but that’s not the case here. .

Last December, riot games were announced It was settling for 2018 $ 100 million gender-based discrimination class action lawsuit with California state agencies and current and former female employees. The case was brought up as a reference point in the court proceedings regarding the proposed Activision Blizzard-EEOC solution.

“I know, there’s always been a focus on money, but it’s not just about money, it’s not about money,” Park said. “As an enforcement agency, you have to be concerned about how you progress and bring the company into harmony because it affects the daily lives of many people.”

P. Andrew Torres, who owns a law firm and hosts the opening arguments podcast. Activision closed the blizzard heatThe judge’s verdict last week said the activation was a victory for the blizzard and would help reduce the case from the DFEH.

“It’s a clear victory for Activision Blizzard. The company had revenue of $ 2.16 billion for the quarter ended December And a total of $ 8.8 billion in 2021.

Paka, Activision’s legal adviser, said it was “reasonable” to refer to the solution as a success for the company.

“I think it’s a success for those who really have claims,” ​​Paka said. “This idea of ​​waiting for different cases – who knows what will happen to that case? People can always bring their claims, they will never stop, they can file an arbitral tribunal, they can file a case, they can file what they think is appropriate” Gives finality and process to people who are not really available elsewhere.

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In addition to the $ 18 million for claimants, Activision Blizzard is required to install harassment and discrimination programs in the company audited by EEOC. The company has announced that the rest of the funds will go to charities to promote women in gaming or to raise awareness about gender equality issues. News release for investors Last September. Activation is Required by law The money must be deposited in an escrow account within 30 days.

As part of its agreement with EEOC and in addition to $ 18 million, Activision will expand its mental health counseling services and add a new employee evaluation process where employees can comment on their employers. An independent, equivalent placement specialist hired by the company will report to the EEOC. The company should provide direct and interactive compulsory sexual harassment training.

This agreement is valid for three years. If Activision does not comply, the EEOC may seek all kinds of relief, including restrictions on monetary or a serious case. EEOC lawyers say they can ask for an extension if compliance is not up to standard.

“I have a college daughter and another coming out of high school and they are entering the workplace,” Park said. “You never want their first work experience to be a place where they are harassed. We try to create and improve the work environment. Our job is to serve that common good. ”

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