Activision Blizzard's $54 Million Settlement: A Landmark Resolution in the Battle Against Workplace Discrimination

California's Civil Rights Department (CRD) has resolved the gender discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, agreeing to a settlement of $54 million. The legal action, which dates back to 2021, accused the gaming giant of fostering a culture of sexual harassment, marking a longstanding issue for Activision Blizzard.

In 2021, California's CRD, formerly known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, filed a lawsuit alleging Activision Blizzard's promotion of a "frat boy" culture, where women experienced sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination. Subsequent to the filing, the company faced employee walkouts and the departure of high-profile figures, including the then-Blizzard President and SVP of HR. Reports also suggested that CEO Bobby Kotick had been aware of the allegations for several years prior to the lawsuit.

According to a press release from the CRD, the settlement with Activision Blizzard amounts to approximately $54 million. Pending court approval, $45,750,000 of this sum will contribute to a settlement fund designated for worker compensation. Notably, women who worked for Activision Blizzard as employees or contractors between October 12, 2015, and December 31, 2020, may be eligible for compensation.

Activision Blizzard's $54 Million Settlement: A Landmark Resolution in the Battle Against Workplace Discrimination 1

As part of the settlement, the CRD clarifies that no court or independent investigation has substantiated systemic or widespread sexual harassment allegations at the company. The CRD will amend its complaint, removing sexual misconduct allegations and focusing solely on gender discrimination claims.

This legal development follows other cases against Activision Blizzard, including a $18 million settlement approved in 2022 with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which also alleged sexual misconduct and discrimination.

The settlement with the California regulator coincides with Microsoft's completion of its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Microsoft's acquisition comes months after the CRD's initial lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. With the deal finalized, Microsoft may be poised to address issues related to discrimination and sexual harassment within Activision Blizzard. The coming months will reveal how the gaming company navigates and addresses these concerns in the aftermath of the settlement with the CRD.