Activision Blizzard, the video game firm behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, among other titles, has reached a $54 million settlement with the State of California in an employment discrimination complaint.
The settlement addresses charges that the corporation “discriminated against women at the company, including denying promotion opportunities and paying them less than men for doing substantially similar work,” according to a statement issued late Friday by the California Civil Rights Department.
Women who worked for Activision Blizzard between Oct. 12, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2020, may be eligible for compensation under the deal, which is subject to court approval. According to the state agency, $45.75 million of the settlement amount has been put aside for such payments.
Activision Blizzard has promised to implement “fair pay and promotion practices” within the corporation.
“We appreciate the importance of the issues addressed in this agreement and we are dedicated to fully implementing all the new obligations we have assumed as part of it,” the company said on Saturday.
The corporation also stated that the California Civil Rights Department agreed to file an updated complaint that removes the charges of s*xual harassment.
In July 2021, California’s civil rights agency filed a lawsuit against Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard, alleging that female employees were subjected to constant s*xual harassment, that few women were named to leadership positions, and that when they were, they earned less salary, incentive pay, and total compensation than male peers.
Activision’s stock price fell in 2021 as a result of the claims, setting the stage for Microsoft’s eventual takeover attempt in January 2022. The software behemoth, which controls the Xbox gaming system, completed its $69 billion acquisition of Activision in October after overcoming global objections from antitrust regulators and competitors.
According to the settlement agreement, “no court or any independent investigation has substantiated any allegations” of systemic or widespread s*xual harassment at Activision Blizzard, as well as claims that the company’s board of directors and CEO acted improperly or ignored or tolerated a culture of harassment, retaliation, or discrimination.