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Started by Syt, July 22, 2021, 02:26:03 AM
QuoteActivision Blizzard Sued Over 'Frat Boy' Culture, HarassmentVideo game giant Activision Blizzard Inc., maker of games including World of Warcraft and Diablo, fosters a "frat boy" culture in which female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation, according to a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.A two-year investigation by the state agency found that the company discriminated against female employees in terms and conditions of employment, including compensation, assignment, promotion, and termination. Company leadership consistently failed to take steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, the agency said.According to the complaint, filed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, female employees make up around 20% of the Activision workforce, and are subjected to a "pervasive frat boy workplace culture," including "cube crawls," in which male employees "drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees."The agency alleges male employees play video games during the workday while delegating responsibilities to female employees, engage in sexual banter, and joke openly about rape, among other things.Female employees allege being held back from promotions because of the possibility they might become pregnant, being criticized for leaving to pick their children up from daycare, and being kicked out of lactation rooms so male colleagues could use the room for meetings, the complaint says.Female employees working for the World of Warcraft team noted that male employees and supervisors would hit on them, make derogatory comments about rape, and otherwise engage in demeaning behavior, the agency alleges.The suit also points to a female Activision employee who took her own life while on a company trip with her male supervisor. The employee had been subjected to intense sexual harassment prior to her death, including having nude photos passed around at a company holiday party, the complaint says.The agency seeks an injunction forcing compliance with workplace protections, as well as unpaid wages, pay adjustments, back pay, and lost wages and benefits for female employees."We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone. There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind," a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard said in a statement. "We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue.""The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived," the statement continued."The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today," the company said.Causes of Action: Employment discrimination because of sex; retaliation; failure to prevent discrimination and harassment; unequal pay.Relief: Compensatory damages; punitive damages; unpaid wages; injunctive relief; declaratory relief; equitable relief; pre-judgment interest; attorneys' fees; costs.Attorneys: Internal counsel represents the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.The case is Calif. Dep't of Fair Emp. & Housing v. Activision Blizzard Inc., Cal. Super. Ct., No. 21stcv26571, 7/20/21.
Quote"The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today," the company said.
Quote from: Syt on July 22, 2021, 02:26:03 AMQuestion to the law people here - would the DFEH file such a high profile case without being reasonably sure they have a leg to stand on?
QuoteActivision Blizzard employees denounce corporate statements: 'We are here, angry, and not so easily silenced'Over 20 current Activision Blizzard employees, including World of Warcraft lead game designer Jeremy Feasel, have publicly criticized the company's response to the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed against it earlier this week. Some WoW developers also stopped work today "in solidarity with the women that came forward," Feasel said.The suit, filed by a California government agency, alleges that women at the company have faced "constant sexual harassment" and discrimination, especially women of color. The response from Activision Blizzard executives has been inconsistent. In its first statement to press, the company called the suit "distorted, and in many cases false" and characterized the agency behind it as a group of "unaccountable bureaucrats." In an internal email, chief compliance officer Fran Townsend also said that the suit "presented a distorted and untrue picture" of Activision Blizzard, and criticized it for "including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories."Internal emails from Blizzard president J Allen Brack and Activision president Rob Kostich struck a different tone, calling the behavior alleged in the lawsuit "unacceptable" and "disturbing," although neither affirmed that such behavior has occurred at the company.On social media, dozens of former employees expressed support for the stories told in the lawsuit and, in some cases, corroborated details. Now over 20 current Activision Blizzard employees have expressed public disapproval of Activision Blizzard's response to the suit, with dozens more showing support by retweeting their coworker's statements. "Many of us will not be working today in solidarity with the women that came forward," wrote lead game designer Jeremy Feasel. "The statements made by [Activision Blizzard] do not represent us. We believe women, and we will continue to strive to do better and hold others accountable. Actions speak louder than words."The World of Warcraft team has been "going through a mix of outrage and sorrow and hurt," said narrative designer Steve Danuser, who went on to say that he's interested in fixing the company and industry, not "corporate bullshit statements."Many more employees expressed similar feelings:"I'm unhappy with the corporate response up to this point," said game designer Brian Holinka. "I don't feel it represents me or what I believe in. Many of us have said this internally. It feels worth saying publicly.""These past few days have made me furious at the COMPANY I work for, but so proud of the PEOPLE I work with," tweeted a user named Burk, who works at Blizzard as an associate producer. "Everyone is rallying together, listening, speaking out against the atrocious responses, and demanding action. We are here, angry, and not so easily silenced.""I stand with the [Activision Blizzard] victims & believe their stories," tweeted Blizzard UX researcher Nikki Crenshaw. "To claim that these stories are 'factually incorrect' or 'untrue' is a slap in the face to current & former employees, & does not represent my core values.""Really hope that Blizzard puts out a statement on this situation that I actually agree with and can support, and not more legal defense posturing," wrote Kyle Hartline, a server and live ops producer on World of Warcraft. "Because the stuff said so far is unacceptable and doesn't represent me. And I know I'm not alone in feeling that way here.""I've heard horror stories all of which I know are true and shouldn't be dismissed," tweeted Elsbeth Larkin, a tools software engineer for World of Warcraft. "The fact that [Activision Blizzard] dismissed it not once but twice is appalling."In addition to personal statements, many developers are also tweeting statements that read: "This tweet is my own and does not represent the views of my company. I do not support any attempt by AB to diminish the very real damage done to victims of harassment at Blizzard. We absolutely must hear and support the women at our company, both current and past."At the time of writing, Activision Blizzard has not responded publicly to these expressions of distrust and frustration from employees. We've asked for comment from the company, and will have more as the story develops throughout the next week and beyond.
Quote from: Oexmelin on July 24, 2021, 11:54:43 AMHaving defended the use of torture by the US, Fran Townsend is well-placed to defending the undefendable, I guess.
Quote from: Sheilbh on July 24, 2021, 04:39:50 PMQuote from: Oexmelin on July 24, 2021, 11:54:43 AMHaving defended the use of torture by the US, Fran Townsend is well-placed to defending the undefendable, I guess.I don't want to go full anti-woke - but the combination of the security state and corporate "diversity and inclusion" efforts is gross and also a very 21st century thing.
Quote from: Sheilbh on July 24, 2021, 06:13:49 PMIt's not that it's common or to do with personnel, more distinctively 21st century - another example would be things like the CIA pride recruitment videos.
Quote from: crazy canuck on July 23, 2021, 11:02:11 AMI don't understand why this is a matter for the court. Doesn't the state have an administrative body to rule on such things?
Quote from: crazy canuck on July 23, 2021, 11:02:11 AMI don't understand why this is a matter for the court. Doesn't the state have an administrative body to rule on such things?This is something that would go before our Human Rights Tribunal or Worksafe (the administrative body which regulates safe workplaces, including being harassment free). Those decisions would then be subject to judicial review by the court if there was some error in the initial decision or direction. The court would not be the initial decision maker.Seems a bit cumbersome to require a court process before meaning remedies can be applied when there is admitted bad behaviour.
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