For business owners, the Activision Blizzard and California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit has likely been on their radar. Though, what may have been missed in some of the headlines is that there is also pressure coming from the company’s own employees and shareholders.
The CDFEH lawsuit
Back in July, the CDFEH filed a lawsuit against the video-game company. They, essentially, alleged that the company had a frat-boy culture that allowed for pervasive sexual harassment and discrimination against women, including rape jokes and inappropriate conduct by the company’s executives.
Current and former employees
If this were not enough, soon after CDFEH filed the lawsuit, over 2,000 current and former employees penned an open letter to the company’s executive team that they had lost the employee’s faith and trust. Then, in August, current employees shared their salaries to help battle pay inequities.
Yet another battle that Activision Blizzard finds itself in is with its own shareholders. The Strategic Organizing Center Investment Group, a group of investors that account for about 3 million shares (0.4% of Activision Blizzard’s outstanding shares), has been pressing the company all year to change its employment practices. This includes mounting an ultimately unsuccessful bid to deny the company’s CEO $150 million in compensation, and urging the company to add more women as employees and to the executive team, among other demands.
What can we learn?
For San Diego, California, business owners, the biggest takeaway from this saga is that business disputes and litigation is rarely a battle fought on one front. Disputes can quickly escalate, which is why it is never a good idea for business owners to go into battle alone.