Activision Blizzard, the company behind Call of Duty, Diablo, Overwatch and Crash Bandicoot, among many other sagas, has been denounced for sexual harassment against women. According to Bloomberg, the lawsuit was filed by the California Department of Fair Employment last July 20. The company, for its part, has sent out a lengthy press release in which it disavows the accusations.
Whistleblowers seek to “remedy, prevent, and deter civil rights violations,” as well as to enforce equal pay laws. They underline the absence of women in leadership positions within the company and their difficulties in promoting in the hierarchical ranks. The complaint also highlights the salary differences between men and women in executive positions.
DFEH portrays a macho culture at Blizzard
After two years of investigation, the California Department of Fair Employment has revealed that there are allegedly toxic behaviors against female employees in the office. They ensure that “Male employees drink copious amounts of alcohol” and that they habitually behave “inappropriately” with women. “Male employees proudly come to work with a rasaca, play video games during working hours and delegate their responsibilities to female employees.” They also add that they speak openly about female bodies and that they “joke about rape.”
“Employed women are constantly subjected to sexual harassment.” Some executives and creators, they continue, they behave in this way “without consequences”. In one case, an employee committed suicide while on a business trip. “His supervisor had brought anal plugs and lube with him.”
The lawsuit accuses Activision Blizzard of failing to respond to “numerous complaints” about harassment and discrimination, not to mention the retaliation alleged to have occurred in response to these complaints. They claim that this fell on deaf ears because human resources personnel are close to the alleged harassers.
Activision denies and defends itself
In response to these allegations, Activision Blizzard has shared a statement: “There is no place in our company or industry for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind. We take all allegations seriously and investigate them. In cases related to misbehavior, measures were taken to solve the problem ”.
According to Activision, the DFEH complaint includes images “distorted and in many cases false” from Blizzard’s past. “We have been extremely cooperative with DFEH throughout their investigation, we have even provided data and extensive documentation, but they have refused to inform us about the problems they have perceived.” Activision argues that they should “have investigated properly” and have discussed with them to resolve any problems before entering the judicial field. “We will prove it in court.”
“Give us nausea the questionable behavior of DFEH to transfer to his complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose death has nothing to do with the case ”, they say. “Although we find this behavior embarrassing and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they have behaved throughout the entire investigation.”
From the point of view of Activision Blizzard, the photograph shown by the DFEH does not represent the current Blizzard work environment. During the last years and at this time, “since the initial investigations began, we have made significant changes”, with the aim of modifying the internal company culture to open the doors to diversity within your leadership team. They say that they have updated the code of conduct and that they have implemented a team that is responsible for investigating any concerns that affect employees. They must regularly attend anti-bullying courses.
Activision Blizzard emphasizes that strive” to pay all employees “fairly and equally”, and that they have taken steps to prevent discriminatory decisions from being made. The statement concludes by expressing its confidence that they will be able to prove all this in court.
Source | Kotaku