Why Activision Blizzard is Settling Latest Lawsuit for $54m

Activision settles yet another gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit, two months after being acquired by Microsoft.

Gaming publisher Activision Blizzard has agreed to pay out $54 million to settle a 2021 gender discrimination lawsuit involving allegations of sexual harassment and pay disparity within the company, which is now under Microsoft after a blockbuster acquisition earlier in the year.

The settlement represents Activision Blizzard's latest legal controversy, with previous lawsuits striking out against the company for its market monopoly and internal “frat boy” culture.

The company will be sharing $47 million of this sum with claimants who were unfairly paid. Read on for details about Activision Blizzard's latest case, its eligibility criteria, and whether you're able to file a claim.

Activision Blizzard Settles History Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit

Responsible for hit games like Call of Duty and Candy Crush, Activision Blizzard has decided to pay out $54 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit.

The suit, which was first brought against the company in 2021 by the California Civil Rights Department, revolves around allegations of sexual harassment, denied promotion opportunities for female workers, and pay disparities among genders.

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If approved, this will be the second-largest settlement proposed by the California agency, behind Riot Games' $100 million class-action payout in 2021, which involved similar claims of gender-based discrimination against female employees.

The majority ($47 million) of Activation's payout will go to female employees and contractors who were treated unfairly from October 2015 to December 2020, while $9.1 million will be reserved to cover legal fees.

The landmark case hasn't been without its difficulties, though. Since the class-action lawsuit was brought against Activation Blizzard, the company has repeatedly denied charges and disregarded claims as false. The final settlement sum also dwarfs the state agencies' initial liability estimate of $1 billion.

Microsoft Cashes in on Activision's Controversy

High-profile allegations of sexual discrimination, alongside news that company CEO Bobby Kotick purposefully hid accusations of sexual misconduct from the board, caused Activision's stock price to tumble in 2021.

The company's subsequent fall in evaluation provided a golden opportunity for Microsoft, however, with the software manufacturer announcing a takeover bid in January 2022.

After fending off global competition, Microsoft officially acquired Activision for $69 billion in October this year, securing it's position of the third-largest gaming company in the world, after Tencent and SONY.

Who is Eligible to Claim in the 2023 Activision Blizzard Settlement?

If you're a female worker, who worked at Activision Blizzard California between October 12, 2015, and December 31, 2020, you may be eligible to receive a slice of the company's $54 million settlement.

However, since the case hasn't yet been officially approved, no action needs to be taken by affected employees. Eligible workers will receive further information from a settlement administrator, and regular updates will be posted on the California Civil Rights Department website

We'll update this article with additional information as it becomes available.

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at Tech.co with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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