Activision sued by another federal agency, settles lawsuit for $18 million

Activision Blizzard's Santa Monica studio
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Earlier today the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard after a three year investigation into alleged workplace discrimination. The EEOC's lawsuit says the agency issued Activision a letter on June 15—nearly a full month before California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit was issued—and according to the Wall Street Journal, the parties have been in talks since.

After the EEOC's lawsuit emerged, Activision issued a press release announcing an agreement with the federal agency. The agreement involves the creation of an "$18 million fund to compensate and make amends to eligible claimants," while any remaining cash will be given to relevant charities.

The same release promises an initiative to create software tools and training programs "to improve workplace policies and practices for employers across the technology industry." There are other promises too, mostly concerned with updating policies and training to be reviewed by the EEOC.

"There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind, and I am grateful to the employees who bravely shared their experiences," CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement. "I am sorry that anyone had to experience inappropriate conduct, and I remain unwavering in my commitment to make Activision Blizzard one of the world’s most inclusive, respected, and respectful workplaces."

"We will continue to be vigilant in our commitment to the elimination of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We thank the EEOC for its constructive engagement as we work to fulfill our commitments to eradicate inappropriate conduct in the workplace."

This is just the latest lawsuit since California sued the company in July: on September 14 Communication Workers of America filed an unfair labor practice suit on behalf of Activision Blizzard employees, and in August, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of shareholders. More recently, on September 20, it emerged that the SEC is conducting its own investigation and has subpoenaed Kotick and other executives. And of course there's the original suit from the California DFEH. Those suits are all ongoing.

To catch up, here's the Activision Blizzard lawsuit timeline explained

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Activision had changed its course after the EEOC's lawsuit was filed. In fact, the filing was a procedural prerequisite in order for the court to be able to approve the settlement. 

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.