Activision Blizzard sued by California for sexual harassment and equal pay
The State of California is suing Activision Blizzard, alleging that the video game publisher violated equal pay laws and “fostered a sexist culture” in the workplace.
In a statement released by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court claims Activision Blizzard paid women less than men despite working more, and laid off or forced women to resign at higher frequencies than men.
The agency also says women of color have been “particularly affected” by the company’s practices.
The lawsuit also alleges that women working at Activision Blizzard have been subjected to constant sexual harassment, including trial and error, comments and advances.
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“All employers must ensure that their employees are paid equally and take all measures to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation,” said Kevin Kish, director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, in a press release. “This is especially important for employers in male-dominated industries, such as tech and games. “
In an emailed statement to USA TODAY, Activision Blizzard said some of the allegations described in the lawsuit contained distorted or false descriptions of the company’s past. Activision Blizzard also said it was cooperative throughout the agency’s investigation.
Activision Blizzard publishes several high-profile video games, including “Call of Duty”, “Overwatch” and “World of Warcraft”.
Activision Blizzard is the latest video game publisher to face allegations of harassment. Last year Bloomberg reported allegations of sexual misconduct at Ubisoft, the video game publisher behind the popular games “Assassin’s Creed” and “Tom Clancy’s The Division”.
In a quarterly earnings call the day after the Bloomberg report was released, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said he was determined to make changes to strengthen the company’s corporate culture.
“Our overriding goal is to ensure that all Ubisoft employees have a safe and inclusive work environment,” Guillemot said in a statement last year. “As a leader in our industry, we must be uncompromising in order to create an exemplary culture where everyone feels respected and valued.”
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23.