Judge approves Activision Blizzard’s first lawsuit settlement

Activision Blizzard's $18 million USD settlement with the federal EEOC has been approved by a judge - California's DFEH lawsuit is set for trial next year

Activision Blizzard has been the subject of multiple lawsuits from government watchdogs alleging years of sexual discrimination and harassment at the company. In September, the company and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced plans for an $18 million USD settlement. Today, US district judge Dale Fischer has approved that settlement.

In a previously-published summary of the settlement, Activision Blizzard will pay claimants with the $18 million fund which, as The Washington Post reports, is the second-largest sexual harassment settlment the EEOC has negotiated. Claimants will be required to opt-in in order to receive compensation, and in doing so, will have to waive their right to participate in the lawsuit from California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on the issues of harassment, retaliation, or pregnancy discrimination. If an individual has a specific claim that was not covered by the EEOC suit, they can still be part of the DFEH suit.

The state of California’s DFEH filed its lawsuit in July, months ahead of the EEOC suit. After initial plans of a settlement between the EEOC and Activision Blizzard were announced, the DFEH objected, saying that the settlement could hurt its own case.

“I’m going to sign the consent decree, which will close this case,” judge Fischer told a DFEH representative during today’s hearing, as quoted by The Washington Post. “You’ve already filed a motion. Your request is untimely. Talk to the ninth circuit.”

In July 2021, the state of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging years of workplace discrimination and harassment. The story has since embroiled CEO Bobby Kotick and prompted the US federal government to open an investigation. It continues to unfold and to be of immense importance to the game industry. You can catch up on all the developments so far in this regularly updated explainer article.

The trial between the DFEH and Activision Blizzard is set for February 2023.