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”
A federal appeals court panel this week approved publicly disclosing records of unsubstantiated misconduct complaints lodged against law enforcement authorities in New York City.
Now let’s extend that rule to employers.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has long refused to disclose any details with respect to discrimination complaints filed against employers. The EEOC even hides from public view its decisions adjudicating those complaints. Many complaints in which the EEOC found probable cause the employer engaged in discrimination are quietly settled pursuant to mediation or conciliation agreements. No one is ever the wiser.
The EEOC’s secrecy rule permits discriminatory employers to avoid accountability for violating laws that ban discrimination based on age, race, sex, disability, religion, color, national origin, etc. Some nefarious corporations undoubtedly make it a cost of doing business to pay off discrimination victims.
If the public has a right to know when a police officer or firefighter is charged with misconduct, there is no justification for permitting employers who are charged with violating civil rights laws to hide behind confidentiality laws. At the other end of the spectrum, courts should stop the practice of sealing out-of-court discrimination settlements from public view.
Courts should stop sealing from the public view out-of-court settlements in discrimination cases.
Prospective job applicants have a right to make informed decisions about whether to take a job with a prospective employer that discriminates based on race or age. Members of the general public should be allowed to patronize only employers that treat their workers well.
Continue reading “Now Start Disclosing Records Of Employer Misconduct”