The terms and conditions of the deal mirror in many ways the terms that rideshare company Uber made with the EEOC in 2019, except for its lack of any liability.
Like Uber, Activision Blizzard’s deal with the EEOC, which is subject to court approval, ends a “full investigation,” in which the agency found “reasonable grounds” that the company engaged in a culture that subjected female employees to sexual harassment and associated reprisals, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to the EEOC’s initial complaint against Activision Blizzard and its subsidiaries, “employees have been subjected to severe or widespread sexual harassment” and the company “has failed to take corrective and preventive action” after receiving reports of sexual harassment.
By entering into an agreement with the EEOC, Activision Blizzard agreed to create a fund for people identified by the agency as potential applicants; has agreed to update its policies with input from an EEOC-approved Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) consultant who will have carte blanche over company documents and employees; and agreed to be monitored for three years to ensure compliance with the provisions of the authorization decree.
In addition, Activision Blizzard will be subject to departmental audits by the EEO consultant (which could be unannounced). “If, through the audit of ongoing and ongoing complaints, it is discovered that departments and / or functions, taking into account all the circumstances, have had repeated and / or widespread cases of sexual harassment, pregnancy-related discrimination and / or related retaliation… the EEO consultant must recommend corrective and / or preventive measures for any unresolved complaints, ”the consent decree states.
Beyond this catch-all language of compliance, however, the general tone of the consent decree is concerning. Unlike Uber’s deal with the EEOC, in which it pledged to hold management accountable and identify repeat offenders, Activision Blizzard management and others are simply “prohibited” from engaging in the crime. sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation or “any practice which creates a hostile work environment.”
The tone of Activision Blizzard is everywhere. In the decree of assent, the company “den expressly[ied]”All the allegations against him. Meanwhile, CEO Bobby Kotick said, “I’m sorry someone must have been subjected to improper conduct.” Kotick reiterated that he “remains[s] steadfast “in its commitment” to making Activision Blizzard one of the most inclusive, respected and respectful workplaces in the world. “
As prudent ethics and compliance officials know, promoting a truly inclusive workplace goes beyond policies, practices and training. It’s walking the pace, supported by a diverse management team. Of the 14 members of Activision Blizzard’s leadership team, only four are women, all of whom have joined the team in the past year and a half.
Ethics and compliance professionals also know that a truly respected and respectful workplace must begin with a base of respect that starts at the top and spills over into the entire global organization. Given that several senior Activision Blizzard officers, including Kotick, have been subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission over the company’s disclosures on employment matters – and face several other legal complaints – the real one proof of her cultural aspirations does not lie in an EEOC consent decree, but rather in the corrective measures, preventative measures and the responsibility that she accepts to move forward.