Activision Blizzard sued for workplace sexual harassment
It is claimed that the frat boy workplace culture has led to years of harassment and abuse of women in the workplace and, as has already been mentioned, has been a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women. In some offices, women were subjected to "cube crawling," in which male employees drank heavily while crawling through various office booths and engaging in inappropriate behavior toward female employees.
Female employees also face constant sexual harassment, including having to fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances from their male colleagues and superiors, and being groped at work and other company events. The suit references a particular incident in which an employee who was subjected to intense sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard, which represents about 20 percent of all women, committed suicide during a business trip because a male supervisor took inappropriate sexual objects. The suit seeks an injunction to oblige Activision Blizzard to comply with work protections and to pay unpaid wages, salary adjustments, payroll taxes, and lost wages and benefits to female employees.
We have made tremendous efforts to create a fair and rewarding remuneration package and a policy that reflects our culture and our business, and we strive to pay all employees equally for equal or similar work. The damages claims in the lawsuit relate, among other things, to pay disparities between women, and although Activision Blizzard's statement included claims that it "seeks to pay employees equally or equally for similar work," it did not acknowledge possible problems with pay disparities in the company's past, nor did it correct previous violations of California law. Contrary to the additional allegations of sexual harassment from DFEH, the suit does not claim that Activision Blizzard employees were discriminated against based on gender, but rather that the actions taken against them violated California Equal Pay laws.
After a two-year investigation from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the state filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for allegedly promoting a "frat boy" culture in which female employees were subjected to unequal pay and sexual harassment. The complaint filed Wednesday with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleges that the video game studio behind hit franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush a sexist culture in which women were paid less than men and faced persistent sexual harassment, including groping. After years of online harassment campaigns targeting women in the video game world known as Gamergate, the complaint describes an industry that is unfriendly and hostile to female employees.
The lawsuit also describes the death and suicide of a female employee during a business trip after she faced workplace harassment, including dissemination of nude photos among male colleagues at a party. One of the most shocking allegations in the complaint is that the employee took her own life while driving because of her male supervisor. The lawsuit comes two years after an external investigation by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing of California drew attention to the pay gap between male and female employees of Activision Blizzards, as well as specific examples of harassment suffered by women at the company, such as "dice crawling", in which male employees got drunk and crawled through booths in the office while groping women.
Experts said the allegations in the lawsuit reflect allegations against other companies in the gambling industry. An Activision CTO, who has not been identified by name, was seen groping a drunken employee at a company event and hiring women based on their appearance. The video game company "engaged male employees in banter, talked about female bodies, and made numerous jokes about rape during their sexual encounters," the lawsuit says.