Former Activision-Blizzard employee sues the company for none of the reasons you’d expect by now, accuses Bobby Kotick of saying it had ‘too many old white guys’

Activision-Blizzard has been the centre of a lot of controversy over these past few years. After a lawsuit went public, detailing “numerous complaints about unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation” and a “frat boy” culture, plus claims from former CEO Bobby Kotick that the whole thing was just an “aggressive labour movement,”  the company finally settled last year.

While the civil rights suit concluded “there was no widespread harassment or recurring pattern or practice of gender harassment”, Activision-Blizzard still paid $54 million to the California Civil Rights Department and set aside $47 million to impacted employees. Now a new suit has been filed by an ex-employee—for discriminating against old white men. Wait, hold on a second.

As reported by Law360 (thanks, a plaintiff (a 57-year old tech executive who worked for several years under Kotick) has alleged that the company discriminated against him on the grounds of age. The suit mentions a conference where Kotick allegedly joked that there were “too many old white guys” at the company. It then states that two other white colleagues left due to “ageist remarks”.

One of those departing colleagues then suggested the plaintiff as a replacement, but the suit alleges that a non-white employee was made his manager instead—who then allegedly criticised his work so harshly that his yearly “merit-based” salary increase was the lowest it had ever been at the company. 

The plaintiff also states that when a female colleague complained to HR about her own increase, she made defamatory statements about him to both HR and his manager. When the plaintiff filed his own complaint demanding that said statements should be investigated independently, he says he was “ignored and he was not taken seriously.”

In August 2023, the plaintiff and six colleagues all over the age of 47 were laid off (from a team of around 200 employees). The plaintiff argues that Activision-Blizzard “Activision placed profits over people by terminating the older, higher paid executives.” 2023 was an utterly brutal year for layoffs across the tech and gaming industries

According to the report, the plaintiff is asking for damages to aid with “loss of earnings, negative impact to career advancement, reputational damage, emotional distress and wrongful termination, as well as legal costs.” 

Activision-Blizzard’s equal employment opportunity policy states that it is company policy to “recruit, hire, train and promote” the “most qualified person” without regard to the issues of age the plaintiff raises.

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