'akin to working in a frat house'
Activision Blizzard, the video game company behind World of Warcraft, has been hit with a lawsuit alleging its female employees are subjected to "constant" sexual harassment.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, which alleges the video game company created a "breeding ground for harassment and discrimination," The Verge and The Washington Post report.
"Female employees almost universally confirmed that working for Defendants was akin to working in a frat house, which invariably involved male employees drinking and subjecting female employees to sexual harassment with no repercussion," the lawsuit says. "...As a product of this 'frat boy' culture, women were subjected to numerous sexual comments and advances, groping and unwanted physical touching, and other forms of harassment."
Women at the company have allegedly been subjected to "cube crawls," in which "male employees drink copious amounts of alcohol as they 'crawl' their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees," the lawsuit says. It also alleges female employees are subjected to "constant sexual harassment" and have to "fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances by their male co-workers and supervisors and being groped at the 'cube crawls' and other company events," and in one "particularly tragic example," a female employee who faced sexual harassment died by suicide.
There have been "numerous" complaints made to human resources and executives, but the company "failed to take effective" action, and female employees who complained faced retaliation, the lawsuit alleges. Additionally, it says women rarely reach top roles at the company and that those who do earn less than their male co-workers.
Activision Blizzard is pushing back against the lawsuit, in a statement saying it includes "distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past."