Activision Blizzard, Inc., the publisher of popular video games, allegedly tolerated a “frat boy” culture for years.
California’s Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit in 2021 alleging Activision executives knew about and failed to stop pervasive sexual harassment and then retaliated against women who complained.
But that lawsuit was effectively blitzed by an $18 million settlement approved this week by U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer.
The settlement between Activision and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires Activision to pay $18 million and to hire a neutral equal opportunity consultant.
Activision, a Santa Monica company that publishes games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, earned about $8.8 billion dollars in 2021. It is ranked #373 on the Fortune 1000 Revenue Rank. The settlement amount, $18 million, is approximately 0.02 percent of the company’s annual earnings.
An $18 million settlement is a mere nuisance to the biggest producer of video games in the world. It is the proverbial slap on the wrist.
For example, a Los Angeles County jury assessed a $58.2 million verdict against entertainment executive Alki David of Hologram USA, Inc. for a sexual abuse of a female production assistant in 2019.
Judge Fischer said any claimant to the EEOC settlement must waive their right to pursue the DFEH lawsuit. So, it’s a bird in the hand kind of thing. Take the money now or take a chance (however small) of getting a higher amount in the future.
Continue reading “Activision’s Great Deal”
The premier civil rights law in the nation makes it unlawful for employers to fail or refuse to hire any individual on on the basis of “such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, amid sit ins and marches, to ensure equal opportunity in employment for minorities.
Democratic President Joseph Biden ignored Title VII when he announced he would choose a Supreme Court candidate who is a black woman, and then picked Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Additionally, he ignored the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was adopted in the aftermath of the Civil War and prohibits states from denying to any person “the equal protection of the laws.” The U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education held that race discrimination violates the Fourteenth Amendment.
Judge Jackson, who was appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court of the District of Columbia less than a year ago, is currently the subject of nomination hearings before the U.S. Senate. Democrats say they have the votes to confirm her nomination.
A Fraction of 6%
Pres. Biden isn’t the first president to pick a justice on the basis of external characteristics.
GOP Pres. Ronald Reagan announced in 1980 that he would pick a woman for the nation’s highest court, and Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice.
However, Pres. Biden drastically narrowed the field of potential nominees to fill the vacancy on the Court created by the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer.
African American women comprise around six percent of the U.S. population and, of that percentage, only a tiny fraction normally would be considered qualified to serve on the nation’s high court.
Continue reading “Will Judge Jackson’s Impending Appointment Help Or Hurt Civil Rights?”
The federal judiciary routinely hears (and often dismisses) lawsuits filed by workers who have suffered soul crushing disrespect, humiliation and abuse from an employer.
This is one reason why the recommendations of The Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Group matter.
The group this week re-committed to the promotion of an “exemplary workplace” for the 30,000 employees of the federal court system “through engaged leadership and more expansive education in the areas of civility, respect and communication.”
Historically, federal judges have graduated from elite colleges and law schools to high-paid jobs in private law firms representing employers to the bench. There, they are exempt from federal discrimination laws. And they have lifetime tenure and can’t be forced to retire.
The federal judiciary’s workplace was the antithesis of democratic. Federal judges were the equivalent of kings in their chambers, and many young law clerks were treated more like serfs than workers.
After several high profile cases where staff complained of sexual harassment and workplace bullying by federal judges, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2018 appointed the workplace conduct group to improve the environment in which federal employees work.
If federal judges must treat their workers with dignity and respect, perhaps they will expect this of other employers?
Continue reading “Federal Judiciary Recognizes Civility And Respect In Its Workplace”
A federal judge in New Hampshire recently addressed a Solomon-like case involving the right of a town to protect its workplace from threats and intimidation by a severely cognitively impaired man.
The 20-year-old man, N.P., who has the cognitive ability of a six-year-0ld, was attending a municipal summer camp in 2019 in Meredith, NH, when he threatened to kill the camp director and two attendees.
Even though N.P. apparently lacked the ability to understand and carry out such threats, the camp director reported the threats to police and the next day N.P. was suspended.
N.P. originally was suspended indefinitely but town officials later limited the suspension to 60-days.
Americans With Disabilities Act
U.S. District Judge Steven J. McAuliffe recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by N.P.’s guardian after finding there was insufficient evidence to show the town violated N.P.’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Continue reading “Judge Dismisses Case Of Threats by Cognitively Impaired Man”
It may be time to rename International Women’s Day, which was organized in 1909 to commemorate the cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements of women.
Face it. The term “women” has fallen into disfavor. It’s discriminatory.
According to the ACLU, the term “women” isn’t gender neutral.
Women today must be called “cisgender” or “people with a gender that aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.”
Don’t dare to question the innate femaleness of a male who identifies as a woman. She also can compete on a collegiate woman’s swim team, even if her 6-foot, four-inch body towers over her biological female counterparts. And she can use the locker room if she has not undergone sex reassignment surgery. She is a woman.
Along with the term “women,” it appears the term “mother” also is going the way of fireman and actress.
Continue reading “International Cisgender Day?”