Judge approves Activision Blizzard’s $18 million settlement with federal agency

The settlement had been agreed upon in September 2021.

Photo via Activision Blizzard

A judge has approved an $18 million settlement between Activision Blizzard and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which investigated and subsequently sued the video game developer and publisher over allegations of sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and retaliation, according to Kotaku.

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer approved the settlement today, more than six months after Activision Blizzard and the EEOC reached an agreement to settle. California’s Department of Fair Employment (DFEH), another government agency, objected to the settlement since it is also suing Activision Blizzard and it claimed a settlement could damage its own case.

As part of the settlement with the EEOC, Activision Blizzard will create an $18 million fund that will compensate victims of harassment and discrimination, expand mental health counseling, and help fund harassment and discrimination prevention programs, among other things.

The EEOC began to contact Activision Blizzard employees in 2020 in an attempt to gather information about the employees’ experiences with the company after it had been notified of allegations of “gender-based and/or sexual harassment.” The EEOC did not officially file a complaint against the games publisher until September 2021, at which time Activision Blizzard agreed to settle. Shortly thereafter, Activision Blizzard attempted to pause the DFEH’s lawsuit, although a county judge denied the motion.

The settlement could actually impact the DFEH’s lawsuit, according to corporate lawyer P. Andrew Torrez, who told The Washington Post that settling with the EEOC was a “clear win” for Activision Blizzard because it is “effectively undercutting the state law proceedings where the state agency was far more aggressive.”

DFEH spokesperson Fahizah Alim recently said the agency would attempt to continue with its suit against Activision Blizzard, which has a trial date in 2023.