Court to approve Activision’s EEOC deal

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This morning, the Federal Court indicated that it will approve Activision Blizzard’s (Nasdaq: ATVI) settlement with the EEOC today. This settlement paves the way for compensation and redress for eligible claimants.

“The agreement we reached with the EEOC last year reflects our unwavering commitment to ensuring a safe and fair work environment for all employees,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “Our goal is to make Activision Blizzard a model for the industry, and we will continue to focus on eliminating harassment and discrimination in our workplace. Court approval of this settlement is an important step in ensuring that our employees have recourse mechanisms if they experience any form of harassment or retaliation.

As part of the agreement with the EEOC, Activision has agreed to:

  • Create an $18 million fund to compensate eligible claimants.

  • Continue to improve policies, practices and training to prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace, including implementing an expanded performance appraisal system. These improvements are ongoing.

  • Engage a neutral third-party equal employment opportunity consultant—a non-employee who must be approved by the EEOC—who will provide ongoing oversight of the company’s compliance with the agreement. The findings of this independent consultant will be reported directly to the EEOC and Activision Blizzard’s Board of Directors.

  • Hire an internal EEO coordinator with relevant experience in gender discrimination, harassment and related retaliation to assist the company. Stacy Jackson started this position on March 16.

Today’s milestones come as Activision continues to improve its corporate culture. Activision has already taken the following actions:

  • Developed a new zero-tolerance, company-wide harassment and retaliation policy;

  • Quadrupled the size of its ethics and compliance team, adding a vice president of ethics and compliance, a senior director of investigations, a senior director of ethics and Compliance, a Director of Ethics Investigations and Compliance and Third-Party Risk Management, two Directors of Workplace Investigations, and two Directors of Ethics who support training initiatives and our Way2Play heroes, who are employee volunteers who help others understand reporting options, speak up and advise leaders on how to strengthen our overall ethics and compliance program;

  • Significantly increased investment in related training;

  • $1 million contribution to WIGI to advance the success of women in the global games industry;

  • Waiver of Required Arbitration for Individual Claims of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination for Claims Arising from Events After October 28, 2021;

  • Launched a new tool that tracks, for each hire, data on the representation and presence of women and candidates from underrepresented ethnic groups at the application, interview and hiring stages of our recruitment process. This tool will allow us to provide transparency on our progress on diversity and reinforce our goal of having diverse candidate lists for open positions;

  • Developing stricter company-wide alcohol policies;

  • We recently launched the Your Upward Feedback program, which resulted in over 90% of our managers receiving personal feedback;

  • Launched Level Up U, a paid training program designed to teach participants about game development and prepare participants for engineering positions within the company.

Additionally, in October 2021, Activision set a goal to increase the representation of women and non-binary employees by 50% within the next five years. It also pledged to invest $250 million over the next 10 years in initiatives that help expand gaming and technology opportunities for underrepresented communities.

“We are pleased that the federal court that reviewed our settlement with the EEOC found it to be “fair, reasonable and adequate and serves the public interest.” Court approval is an essential step in our journey to ensure that everyone at Activision Blizzard always feels safe, heard and empowered. We hope that the court’s findings – including its view that many of the objections raised about our settlement were inaccurate and speculative – will clear up any confusion that may exist. With all of the terms of the settlement reviewed and approved, we can move forward,” Kotick concluded.

About Activision Blizzard

Our mission, to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment, has never been more important. Through communities rooted in our video game franchises, we empower hundreds of millions of people to experience joy, thrills and achievement. We enable social connections through the prism of fun, and we foster purpose and a sense of accomplishment through healthy competition. Like sports, but with greater accessibility, our players can find purpose and meaning through competitive play. Video games, unlike any other social or entertainment media, have the ability to break down barriers that can hinder tolerance and understanding. Celebrating differences is at the heart of our culture and allows us to create games for players from diverse backgrounds in the 190 countries where our games are played.

As a member of the Fortune 500 and an S&P 500 company, we’ve had an extraordinary track record of delivering superior shareholder returns for more than 30 years.

Our enduring franchises are some of the most popular in the world, including Call of Duty®, Crash Bandicoot™, Warcraft®, Overwatch®, Diablo®, StarCraft®, Candy Crush™, Bubble Witch™, Pet Rescue™ and Farm Heroes™. Our continued success has allowed the company to support corporate social responsibility initiatives that tie directly into our franchises. For example, our Call of Duty Endowment has helped find jobs for over 90,000 veterans.

Learn more about Activision Blizzard and how we connect and engage the world through epic entertainment on the company’s website, www.activisionblizzard.com.

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