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California Settles with Activision But Drops Sexual Harassment Claims

In 2021, the California Civil Rights Department (CCD) sued Activision/Blizzard for gender-based pay disparities and maintaining a sexually harassing work environment. In the complaint, the CCD alleged the company fostered a "pervasive frat boy" workplace culture. The company also allegedly denied promotion opportunities to women and paid female employees less than male employees for doing substantially similar work.

The parties settled their lawsuit in December 2023, with Activision/Blizzard agreeing to pay $54 million for pay disparity and discrimination. Female employees employed at the company between 2015 and 2020 will be offered some monetary relief based on a formula. As part of the settlement, the CCD will withdraw all its allegations of sexual harassment. The CCD found "no court or any independent investigation has substantiated any allegations" of widespread sexual harassment. The investigation also found no wrongdoing by the company's board or chief executive. The New York Times reported CCD's lawsuit caused Activision's stock to decline, resulting in Microsoft's purchase of it.

Activision said it is "fully dedicated to implementing all the new obligations" and that it is "committed to ensuring fair compensation and promotion policies and practices for all employees, and we will continue our efforts regarding the inclusion of qualified candidates from underrepresented communities in outreach, recruitment, and retention." The company will hire an outside consultant to evaluate compensation, promotion policies, and training materials as part of the settlement.