As part of a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Activision Blizzard has agreed to establish an $18 million fund for employees who experienced harassment and discrimination at the company.
The EEOC investigation of Activision Blizzard began in September of 2018, lasted three years and resulted in a suit filed Monday in California court. The settlement allows that claimants who have experienced "sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and/or related retaliations or constructive discharge," can apply to the EEOC for a portion of the fund. The EEOC will then determine whether and how much a claimant will receive from the fund.
The EEOC will donate any money it opts not to distribute from the $18 million to charities of its choosing, with a focus on those that confront diversity and equity issues in the workplace.
In addition to establishing the fund, Activision Blizzard has agreed to cease any discriminatory practices, improve its software and training around workplace practices, and hire an equal employment opportunity coordinator that will be audited by a consultant connected to the EEOC.
"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," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement on the agreement.
The $18 million settlement represents a minuscule fraction of Activision Blizzard's $8.1 billion in revenue for 2020. It's just more than a tenth of the $155 million pay package shareholders approved for Kotick in June.
Activision Blizzard's legal woes continue apace. The company is still under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and engaged in a trio of lawsuits.
The first, filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleged a culture of gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment at the company. A shareholder filed the second in early August accusing the company of misleading investors regarding the DFEH investigation. The third, filed by Activision Blizzard employees in coordination with the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, was announced Sept. 14 and alleges coercive tactics to prevent unionization efforts.