California is challenging Activision Blizzard on a culture of ongoing sexual harassment


The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) says well-known game publishing agency Blizzard Entertainment and its owner Activision Blizzard have created a culture of “persistent sexual harassment” and gender discrimination in a new lawsuit filed Tuesday that the top executives were aware of and / or involved in – and within hours of the lawsuit being uncovered, numerous women have already stepped forward to support the allegations.

The details are so disturbing that we start with a trigger a warning right now. The idea that male employees liked cube indexing is one tamer Arguments of the parties:

Female workers confirmed almost everywhere that working as a respondent was similar to working in the abdomen, which always meant that male workers drank and exposed female workers to sexual harassment without any consequences. Cube indices conducted at opponents ’offices were common, and male workers proudly began working on the hangover. Similarly, male employees play video games at work, teased their sex encounters, spoke openly about the female body, and made numerous jokes about rape.

As a product of this “frat boy” culture, women were subjected to numerous sexual comments and advances, groping and unwanted physical contact, and other forms of harassment. The female employee pointed out that occasional male employees would approach her at the respondents ’construction site and comment on her breasts. Female employees working on the World of Warcraft team found that male employees and supervisors hit them, made contemptuous comments about rape, and otherwise engaged in degrading behavior. This behavior was known to the supervisors and they really encouraged, including the male supervisor openly encouraging the submissive man to “buy” the prostitute to improve his bad mood.

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack has been explicitly named to be aware of and allow such behavior, and an unnamed former Blizzard CTO “found employees curled up intoxicated female employees at company events.” World of Warcraft senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi is also explicitly named:

Alex Afrasiabi, a former senior creative director at Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, is allowed to engage in blatant sexual harassment with little or no access. During the corporate event (annual convention called Blizz Con), Afrasiabi beat female employees, saying they wanted to get married, try to kiss them and put their arms around them. This was evident in other male employees, including supervisors, who had to intervene and pull him out of female employees. Afrasiab was known to have practiced females so that his suite was nicknamed the “Crosby Suite” after alleged rapist Bill Crosby.

We assume that DFEH meant Bill Cosby, but that is not clear. A few more ugly things are described below under the complaint, such as how one employee committed suicide after extreme sexual harassment.

All the alleged sexual harassment are allegations of discrimination, such as a refusal to advertise women – “the manager commented that they could not jeopardize her promotion because she may become pregnant and want to be a mother,” one allegation also reads – as pay discrimination and direct retaliation. Employees were allegedly “not encouraged to complain because staff were known to be close to the alleged harassers.”

Here is the complete statement provided by Activision Blizzard Limit and other publications calling the lawsuit “irresponsible behavior from accountable state bureaucrats running many of the state’s best businesses in California”:

We value diversity and strive to promote a workplace that is inclusive. Our company or industry, or any industry, has no place for any kind of sexual abuse or harassment. We take all allegations seriously and investigate all allegations. In cases of abuse, steps were taken to address the problem.

DFEH contains distorted and in many cases false descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been very cooperative with DFEH during their investigation, including providing them with comprehensive information and a wealth of documentation, but they refused to let us know what things they were experiencing. The law required them to investigate adequately and engage in sincere discussions with us to better understand and resolve all claims and concerns prior to going to trial, but they did not. Instead, they rushed to make an erroneous complaint, as we show in court. DFEH’s reprehensible conduct aggravates us to lodge a complaint about the tragic suicide of an employee whose death is irrelevant in this case and does not take into account his grieving family. While we find this behavior shameful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they have behaved throughout the study. It is this type of irresponsible behavior from responsible state bureaucrats that drives many of the best businesses in the state from California.

The picture that DFEH paints is not Blizzard’s workplace today. In recent years, and continuing from the beginning of the original research, we have made significant changes to take into account the corporate culture and reflect the diversity of our management teams. We have streamlined employee internal programs and channels for reporting violations, including the “ASK List” on a confidential integrity line, and established an employee relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns. We have reaffirmed our commitment to diversity, fairness and inclusion and connected our network of employees globally to provide additional support. Employees also have to undergo regular anti-harassment training and they have done so for many years.

We invest tremendously in creating fair and rewarding compensation packages and policies that reflect our culture and business, and strive to pay all employees fairly for the same or substantially similar work. We take a number of proactive steps to ensure that pay is based on non-discriminatory factors. For example, we reward and reward employees based on their performance, and we also provide extensive anti-discrimination training for those who are part of the compensation process.

We are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practice as an equal employer that promotes a profitable, diverse and inclusive workplace for our people, and we are committed to continuing this work for years to come. It’s a shame DFEH didn’t want to have anything to do with us in terms of what they thought they saw in their study.

Since the lawsuit was uncovered, at least five former Blizzard employees have come to social media to confirm details such as “cube indexing,” or that they had to deal with sexual harassment, or that they saw it happen, or that they actually appeared anonymously in the lawsuit. We do not embed or link to their posts without permission because we are concerned that they may also be targeted online.

California DFEH was also involved in widespread sexual harassment and discrimination at Riot Games, which originally landed only a $ 10 million settlement before DFEH suggested it should be at least $ 400 million.

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