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Activision’s internal investigation found no “systemic problems” with harassment

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Last November, The Wall Street Journal published a damning report alleging that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick withdrew information from its board of directors about harassment allegations. The report also suggested that Activision executives failed to act conclusively to address the widespread complaints contained in a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) lawsuit filed last July.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday, Activision’s board of directors said the company has completed its full investigation of those claims, adding that “we are not a company that looks the other way.”

After consulting with outside consultants, speaking with employees, and reviewing current notes, Activision writes, “There is no evidence to suggest that senior Activision Blizzard executives ever intentionally ignored incidents of sexual harassment.” done or attempted to reduce and was reported.” The company’s board of directors also did not withhold any information from the company, writes Activision.

Activision’s new statement acknowledges “few confirmed examples of gender harassment” that “have happened and been reported.” But Activision says those individual experiences of harassment may be “difficult to reconcile” with a more collective, data-driven look at how the company as a whole is handling harassment. And legitimate individual complaints “do not support the conclusion that Activision’s senior leadership or board was aware of and tolerated gender harassment or that there was ever a systemic issue with harassment, discrimination, or retaliation,” the company said. writes.

In contrast, Activision says that an investigation by external advisor (and former Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman) Gilbert Casellas found that, “based on the volume of reports, the amount of misconduct reflected is relatively low for a company.” which is the size of Activision Blizzard.”

“Like any organization that has employed more than 25,000 employees over the past decade, Activision Blizzard can always improve,” the company writes. Activism continues to list internal changes made in recent months, including zero-tolerance policies for harassment and alcohol use in the workplace and work events; Exemption of arbitration for claims of harassment and discrimination; and increased investment in anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training and compliance teams.

Activision also takes the opportunity in its new filing to call it “an unbelievable barrage of media criticism that attempts to portray the entire company (and many innocent employees) with the scarring of a very small segment of our employee population who are engaged in misbehavior and were disciplined for it.” The DFEH complaint that started Activision’s year of bad press contained allegations that were “highly inflammatory” and “made for the press,” the company writes.

In addition to the DFEH lawsuit, Activision still faces multiple lawsuits from shareholders and reports of an SEC investigation related to the company’s alleged failure to share material information about employee misconduct. A separate lawsuit against the company by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was controversially settled last September for $18 million, while a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of an employee who died by suicide was dropped last month. .

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