Last week, the news that Activision Blizzard was under investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as other agencies, came to light. There were rumors that the company would try to settle, and that is what has happened.
Two things to note in this settlement are that Activision Blizzard denies all accusations and is claiming that settling would just be less time consuming and possibly less expensive than a full on defense might have been. The settlement establishes $18 million for a fund to go to those who file claims with the agency that they were subject to "sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and/or related retaliation" in the name of avoiding the "expense, distraction, and litigation" that fighting the EEOC lawsuit might have otherwise cost them. Second, some have noted that $18 million is just not a lot in comparison to what the company rakes in. According to their own reports, revenue in 2020 stood at $8.1 billion. That’s over $20 million per day. So this $18 million may sound like a lot of money, but it would have to be split among claimants, and it’s possible to question how much of a deterrent it could be..
Despite denying all accusations, Blizzard also agreed to oversight by an EEOC consultant, possible hiring changes, software and training to improve the workplace, and to hire an equal opportunity m=employment coordinator.
If there is any money left in the $18m pool, the EEOC would use that to donate to charities that promote diversity, promising and hiring women in games, and bettering workplaces.
While this settlement may get one thing out of the way, this isn’t the end for the legal issues for Activision Blizzard. The company still faces an extensive lawsuit in California and investigation by the United States SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). While many still believe this doesn’t go far enough, there’s not enough yet to see how any of the other suits or investigation might end.