Image copyright Reuters
One of the biggest game companies in the world is being sued for a "frat boy " culture that discriminates against women.
Activision Blizzard is accused of unequal pay, promotion men versus women, and widespread sexual harassment.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is taking legal action against the company, over 'a two-year investigation.
Activision called the action "shameful and non professional ".
And he called the DFEH " irresponsible state bureaucrats ".
'Cube crawls '
The company is one of the largest and most successful gaming companies, releasing major titles Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch and many more.
The DFEH did numerous allegations of a entrenched culture of discrimination and sexual harassment.
"Employees have almost universally confirmed that working for defendants is akin to working in a fraternity house, " the DFEH has filed legal claims.
"In the office, women are subjected to 'cube crawls ', in which employees drink copious amou when alcoholic 'They work their way through the various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior towards female employees.
Male employees should also:
- "proud " to get to the tworking with a hangover
- "playing video games for long periods of time at work, while delegating responsibilities to female employees
- discussing sex
- rape joke
And these workplace cultures were "breeding ground " for harassment and discrimination.
"Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment " alleged the DFEH.
"Senior executives and designers engaging in blatant sexual acts without repercussion.
And when formal complaints were filed, Activision did not take effective action to resolve the issues.
Instead, the complaints were dismissed and have not been kept confidential.
"As a result of these complaints, the employees were the subject of reprisals, including, but not limit, to be deprived of work on projects, transferred against their will in ddifferent units and selected to be fired, "the DFEH said.
An employee even committed suicide, " because of having sex with her supervisor man, "said the DFEH, "a tragic example of the harassment the defendants allowed to escalate " - an allegation Activision strongly denies.
She had taken a corporate trip with him, before which, according to another employee, male colleagues had "circulated " intimate photos of her at a party.
But Activision said: "We are sickened by the reprehensible behavior of the DFEH to hang around in the complaint the suiThe tragic death of an employee whose death has no bearing on this matter and without regard for his grieving family.
"This is the type of irresponsible Irresponsible state bureaucrats who run many of the best state companies in California. "
right d 'image author image caption Tracer, the mascot of Overwatch, one of the company's great games
Wage disparities and other career barriers were also common within the company.'business, filing claims, which means that many women leave.
The company's workforce "is only around 20% female, " he says.
"Its leaders are also exclusively male and white.
" Women in the company are assigned lower levels of pay and opportunity.
"Female employees receive lower starting wages and also earn less than male employees for substantially similar work.
" Defendants promote women more slowly and fire them faster than their male counterparts. "
And when an employee with managerial responsibilities asked for a raise and promotion, her manager " commented that they could not risk promoting her, like getting pregnant and loving being a mom too much ".
The DFEH also noted " women of color were particularly vulnerable targ ets "dediscriminatory practices.
'Inaccurate Claim '
In its fierce rebuttal, Activision said the DFEH file "contains distorted, and in many cases false, deions of Blizzard's past ".
"The image that the DFEH brushes is not today's Blizzard workplace," he said - adding that he had made changes important to internal procedures and introduced mandatory anti-harassment training.
The DFEH was required by law "to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and resolve any claims or concerns before going to court - but they didn't. have not done ".
"Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint.
The DFEH, in its filing, said it tried to resolve the issues before filing the lawsuit.
It "required that all parties participate in a binding dispute resolutionends "- but both parties had been " unable to resolve "the issues.