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Activision to pay $66m to settle workplace discrimination lawsuit

Activision to pay $66m to settle workplace discrimination lawsuit
The Activision booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, US, on June 13, 2017.
PHOTO: Reuters

Activision Blizzard will pay roughly US$50 million (S$66 million) to settle a 2021 lawsuit by a California regulator that alleged the videogame maker discriminated against women employees, including denying them promotion opportunities and underpaying them.

California's Civil Rights Department (CRD) had sued the "Call of Duty" maker after two years of investigation over allegations that it routinely underpaid and failed to promote female employees and condoned sexual harassment.

The CRD will withdraw the allegations of systemic sexual harassment, according to the settlement agreement, seen by Reuters.

The remaining allegations resolved by the agreement included that Activision discriminated against women, including by denying promotion opportunities and paying them less than men for doing substantially similar work, the CRD said in a statement on Friday.

Activision will take additional steps to ensure fair pay and promotion practices and provide monetary relief to women who were employees or contract workers in California between Oct 12, 2015, and Dec 31, 2020, as part of the agreement, which is subject to court approval, the CRD statement said.

"In the settlement agreement, the CRD expressly acknowledged that 'no court or independent investigation has substantiated any allegations that there has been systemic or widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard'," the videogame maker said in a statement on Friday.

The company also said that no investigation substantiated that its board or chief executive acted improperly in handling instances of workplace misconduct.

Activision, which was bought in October by Microsoft for nearly US$69 billion, agreed in 2021 to pay up to US$18 million to settle similar claims made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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