The State of California has taken a step toward attacking the “frat boy workplace culture” in its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, Inc. This lawsuit is supported by California’s new law which requires companies with 100 or more employees to submit an annual report to the State with pay data for specified job categories organized by race, ethnicity and sex. From the allegations of many former Blizzard employees, their report will show large discrepancies among men and women.
Frat Boy Culture
The phrase “frat boy culture” picked up steam along with the #MeToo movement. It represents a situation, typically created in a male-dominant group, in which men with boyish tendencies treat women as inferior. In the workplace, this frequently takes shape through harassment and pay discrepancies. At Blizzard, the company allegedly allowed men to make jokes about rape, and women were routinely harassed and paid less than their male colleagues. According to several employees, bosses at Blizzard encouraged “cube crawls” in which staffers walked from cubicle to cubicle getting drunk and subjecting female employees to unwanted advances, offensive jokes, and physical touch.
Allowing The Culture to Fester
There are now sexual harassment allegations pouring out of Blizzard employees exemplifying the events that were allowed to take place. In one instance, where Blizzard did allow a female to assume a managerial role, she asked to be justly compensated and was met with the response that Blizzard “could not risk promoting her as she might get pregnant and like being a mom.”
Another example came about during a work trip where a Blizzard executive tried to pressure a female employee to having sex with him because he believed that she “deserved to have some fun” after her boyfriend died a few weeks prior. One event in particular shows both the harassment and its effects. A female staffer’s sexual relationship with a male supervisor allegedly culminated in her suicide during a company business trip. This female employee suffered multiple instances of harassment, including having the entire office view her nude pictures as they were passed around at an office holiday party.
Looking high up the executive ladder, harassment has been deemed prevalent by the creative director of Blizzard’s arguably most popular game “World of Warcraft.” His office has been nicknamed the “Cosby suite” after the comedian Bill Cosby’s own sexual harassment tenure. Although the specific origin of that nickname is still unknown, the meaning behind it is nonetheless a powerful indicator of what was happening at Blizzard.
In the wake of multiple largescale #MeToo actions in the United States, one being against Blizzard and another against New York’s former Governor Andrew Cuomo, there is clear evidence that the fight against a male-dominant workplace, where sexual harassment is condoned, is not over. Blizzard states that it will have an outside law firm investigate the matter, and with over 1,500 employees calling for Blizzard’s executives to take sexual harassment seriously, it is only a matter of time before the full scale of this issue reveals itself. With 80% of Blizzard’s workforce being male, the company will have a long path to detangle a culture so engrained.
Reach Out to Our Law Firm to Tackle Your Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Cases
The experienced sexual harassment attorneys at Makarem & Associates in California will handle your case better than any attorney out there. Their dedication, drive, and determination is sure to get you the outcome you deserve. Contact us today at (310)312-0299 or [email protected].