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Activision Blizzard has agreed to settle a workplace discrimination lawsuit in the US



Activision Blizzard, the video game company that has been embroiled in a legal battle over allegations of a toxic workplace culture, has reached a settlement with federal workplace discrimination regulators in the United States.


According to court documents filed on Monday, the company, which is one of the most well-known gaming corporations in the world, reached a settlement with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to resolve claims. The agency had filed a lawsuit in federal court in California earlier in the day, marking the culmination of a nearly three-year investigation into the matter.


According to the agency, Activision failed to take effective action after employees complained of sexual harassment, discriminated against pregnant employees, and retaliated against employees who spoke out, including by firing them.


Activision has announced that it will establish a $18 million fund to compensate people who have been harassed or discriminated against in the gaming industry. Money that is left over would be donated to charities that support women in the video game industry or to other initiatives that promote gender equity. As part of its compliance with the EEOC's conditions, the company will "upgrade" its harassment and discrimination policies and training, as well as hire an independent consultant to monitor the company's compliance. The agreement, which is subject to court approval, will be in effect for three years and will be reviewed every three years.


Located in Santa Monica, California Activision, the maker of popular games such as Candy Crush, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft, has seen its stock price plummet in recent months as employees voiced their dissatisfaction with the company's labor practices and government officials took action.


In July, the company was sued by the state's civil rights commission. Employees took to the streets to speak out against harassment and discrimination, signing petitions criticizing the company for its defensive response to the lawsuit and staging a walkout to express their outrage. A shareholder has filed a lawsuit against Activision, alleging that the company misled investors about the severity of its labor problems and the legal risks associated with them. According to Activision, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the company's investor disclosures.


The California-based company has stated that it is cooperating with various regulators and is working to resolve employee grievances at the workplace. Earlier this year, the company "refreshed" its human resources department by hiring a new "Chief People Officer" from the Disney Corporation.


Employees who bravely shared their experiences were thanked by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a company statement released on Monday. "Discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind has no place at our company," Kotick said in a statement. He stated that he was committed to ensuring that the company was a "inclusive, respected, and respectful" place to work.


Since the end of June, the stock has lost approximately 20% of its value. In late-afternoon trading on Tuesday, shares gained 2 percent to $76.67.

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