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Worker Group Calls Activision Settlement ‘Slap In The Face’

An image of an angel from the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion.

Image: Activision Blizzard

Following news that Activision Blizzard plans to settle the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) complaint for just $18 million, workers at a labor union say it doesn’t do enough to curb “corporate bad actors.”

Today the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, a project by the Communication Workers of America labor union, released a brief statement regarding Activision Blizzard’s proposed plans to settle the EEOC lawsuit, the existence of which was just revealed on Monday. In a tweet, the CODE-CWA called the payout “a slap in the face to workers [who have] dealt with toxic working conditions for [years].”

In a subsequent longer, more scathing response, CWA secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens said that not only is the $18 million settlement “mere pennies” to Activision Blizzard’s $72 billion net worth, the company still has yet to acknowledge how its actions have actively harmed its workers.

“Yesterday’s insufficient EEOC settlement made it clear that the thousands of Activision Blizzard workers who have suffered from years of toxic workplace misconduct on behalf of Activision Blizzard will not receive true justice,” Steffens wrote in the tweeted statement.

Activision Blizzard is worth $72 billion—an $18 million settlement is mere pennies considering the resources available to this cash-rich corporation. Even worse, Activision Blizzard’s management does not acknowledge that their actions harmed their workers, viewing the settlement as a very small price to pay to rid themselves of a ‘distraction’.

Steffens went on to say that the settlement does not punish “corporate bad actors,” and called for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, National Labor Relations Board, and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to pay attention to this and “choose to truly hold Activision Blizzard accountable” for the sake of its 10,000 workers.

ABetterABK, a collective of workers from Activision Blizzard and King Digital Entertainment which formed in the wake of the ongoing trouble at those companies, retweeted the Sara Steffens and CODE-CWA statements.

When reached for comment by Kotaku, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson released a statement:

We agreed on $18 million with the EEOC, who is expert in this area.

The EEOC will make an independent assessment of each claim they receive. Any employee who believes they have been the subject of harassment or retaliation should contact the EEOC. There will be multiple communications channels providing information on how to make a claim. We want the EEOC to know about everyone who believes they have suffered harassment or retaliation.

Activision Blizzard has been in hot water since late July, when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the massive games publisher for discrimination and harassment, particularly of women and people of color. Executives of the company have apologized, while some—including Blizzard president J. Allen Brack—stepped down or left. A second lawsuit, this one from investors, landed in Activision Blizzard’s lap in August, and the company’s been doing damage control ever since.

While the just-revealed EEOC suit is reportedly getting settled for a mere $18 million, Activision Blizzard still faces three others, and is also dealing with investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Department of Justice.


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