A lawsuit against the game maker Activision Blizzard from Santa Monica, California, the makers of Call of Duty, created a work environment in which sexual harassment and discrimination flourished after a two-year investigation.
The California Department for Fair Employment and Housing said Activision allowed a “frat boy” workplace culture in its lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The allegations alleged that executives sexually molested women and that male employees openly joked about rape and drank alcohol while engaging in “inappropriate behavior” towards women.
Women were paid less than men and were promoted less often, the lawsuit also states.
Activision Blizzard’s workplace “is a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women,” the agency wrote. “Women are constantly exposed to sexual harassment, have to constantly fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances from their male colleagues and superiors and are groped at the ‘Cube Crawls’ and other company events.”
In one particularly shocking case mentioned in the lawsuit, an employee died of suicide while on a business trip. Before her death, male colleagues are said to have shared explicit photos of the woman, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleged that executives at the company and its human resources department failed to correct wrongdoing when they were informed about it.
Activision Blizzard issued a statement refuting the claims, saying that “the picture DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today”.
“There is no place for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind in our company, or our industry, or in any industry,” Activision wrote in a statement. “In cases of misconduct, action has been taken to correct the problem.” The company alleged California did not address the allegations prior to filing the lawsuit.
“It is this kind of irresponsible behavior by unaccountable state bureaucrats that is driving many of the state’s best companies out of California,” wrote Activision.