(Oakland, CA) — Former Activision employee Jessica Gonzalez is appealing the $18 million sexual harassment and discrimination settlement between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Activision Blizzard. Gonzalez filed an appeal on the grounds of workers potentially losing their rights under state law and the court’s decision to ignore objections made by impacted employees. Under the current EEOC settlement, workers who apply to be claimants would be barred from suing Activision Blizzard for future settlements—essentially protecting the company from any future legal accountability.
“The court allowed Activision and the EEOC to keep the affected workers and others who had an interest in holding the company accountable out of the process,” said Gonzalez. “Eligible employees should not have to give up their right to pursue other legal remedies if they accept the settlement.”
On March 30th, U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer approved the settlement between Activision Blizzard and the EEOC, absolving the video game publisher of any moral or legal responsibility for their action over what is alleged to have been more than five years of misconduct, despite the documented patterns of sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination.
The small settlement sum would mean that no more than 60 workers could receive the maximum settlement allowed—leaving thousands of workers ineligible to receive compensation. Furthermore, earlier this year employees objected to the proposed $18M settlement, calling it “woefully inadequate.”
“Over the past year, Activision Blizzard has skated on thin ice on multiple allegations and somehow gotten away with it,” said Sara Steffens, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America, which also sought to intervene in the lawsuit. “This paltry settlement makes it crystal clear that the only way for workers to secure a safe work environment is to have an active role shaping policies and internal accountability mechanisms moving forward. Activision employees deserve transparency and accountability from their employer. But most importantly, they deserve a workplace free from harassment, discrimination, and abuse.”
The Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA) is an initiative by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) supporting workers’ organizing efforts in the technology and game industries.