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Update: Activision Blizzard has settled with the EEOC and will create an $18 million fund to “to compensate and make amends,” according to the New York Times. An Activision Blizzard press release has indicated that the money will be available to “eligible claimants.”

“Any amounts not used for claimants will be divided between charities that advance women in the video game industry or promote awareness around harassment and gender equality issues as well as company diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as approved by the EEOC,” the release reads. “The agreement is subject to court approval.”

The original story can be found below.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard on Sept. 27. The suit alleges that Activision Blizzard “have subjected a class of individuals to sexual harassment, to pregnancy discrimination and/or to related retaliation under Title VII.”

The EEOC has been investigating Activision Blizzard for more than three years, starting on Sept. 26, 2018 and going through June 15, 2021. The federal agency has been interviewing employees during that length of time. Activision Blizzard leadership has known about the suit, openly citing it on the company’s official website last week before it was filed.

Another lawsuit against Activision Blizzard

This suit from the EEOC comes in the wake of a sexual discrimination lawsuit by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, an anti-trust investigation into the Overwatch League by the Justice Department, an investigation by the SEC, a suit brought on through the National Labor Relations Board and a class-action suit brought on by shareholders. This all began when the DFEH filed a lawsuit in late July, alleging that the company had fostered a “frat boy” culture where female employees were regularly discriminated against.

The EEOC usually moves to reach conciliation with the employer before filing a suit. If the case had been settled or mediated, then it would have been closed by the agency. Activision Blizzard has said that it has cooperated with the case, although the agency has decided that there is no option outside the court.

“The Company is actively engaged in continued discussions with the EEOC and has cooperated with the EEOC’s investigation concerning certain employment practices,” reads a post on the company’s official website. The publisher says it had been working with regulators “with the goal of improving its workplace policies and procedures and ensuring compliance.”

Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.
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