Activision Blizzard has Allegedly Discriminated Against ‘Old White Guys’
Activision Blizzard appears to be under new fire just weeks after settling a lawsuit concerning allegations of discrimination against women. This is because a former technology executive has sued the video game company, claiming they discriminated against him because of his age.
The 57-year-old executive was laid off during the summer of 2023 during a restructuring, causing him to file a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. Below, we discuss the events that led to the ex-employee suing his employer and the UK law concerning age discrimination.
If you believe you have suffered discrimination because of your age, contact Redmans Solicitors today. We are employment law specialists who can answer your questions and discuss your circumstances. Following a quick consultation, we can advise on your next steps.
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Activision Blizzard Sued for Age Discrimination
The former technology executive worked for Activision Blizzard from 2014 until his redundancy in August 2023. Allegedly, 200 employees were sacked during the restructuring, with seven being aged at least 47, including the former executive.
Within the lawsuit, the ex-employee claimed that Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s former CEO, made age-discriminatory comments during a leadership conference. It’s alleged the former CEO said the “problem” with the company was that “there are too many old white guys”. Subsequently, two white executives left the company, with suggestions this was influenced “at least in part, on Kotick’s ageist remarks”.
Following their departure, one of the executives apparently recommended that the plaintiff replace him. However, Activision Blizzard appointed a younger, non-white individual, who became the plaintiff’s manager.
What’s more, a female employee in the plaintiff’s department allegedly made defamatory remarks about him to HR and his manager. In response, the former executive accused the company of failing to protect him from accusations that were discriminatory and defamatory. He also accused his manager of creating a hostile workplace and questioned the salary increase offered to him.
Then, the plaintiff suggested that “a larger issue might be brewing” and stated he felt ignored and wasn’t taken seriously. He claimed Activision Blizzard “placed profits over people by terminating the older, higher paid executives”. As a result, among other things, he wants compensation for loss of earnings, wrongful termination and emotional distress.
The UK Law Concerning Age Discrimination
Following the incidents involving Activision Blizzard, we turn our attention to the laws that regulate age discrimination in the UK. A key piece of legislation that protects individuals in the workplace is the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010).
Under the EqA 2010, people cannot be discriminated against at work. The act outlines that discrimination means being treated ‘less favourably’ because of a protected characteristic, which includes a person’s age. Regarding the ‘less favourable treatment’ itself, this means disadvantaging someone with a protected characteristic compared to someone who doesn’t. This could take many forms, including blocking promotion opportunities or causing emotional distress.
As for discrimination more broadly, this could occur:
- Directly, where an individual faces less favourable treatment specifically because of their protected characteristic
- Indirectly, where everyone is treated the same, but because of an individual’s protected characteristic, they’re disadvantaged
- Through harassment, when someone experiences offensive or unwanted behaviour linked to their protected characteristic
- Via victimisation, when a person faces negative treatment due to being involved in a complaint of discrimination or harassment
Those eligible to claim discrimination compensation include employees and workers, contractors and job applicants. As for those responsible, those who committed the act will be liable, but the employer could also be, even if they weren’t the ‘wrongdoer’.
This is because employers have a duty of care to take steps to prevent discrimination and do all they reasonably can to prevent individuals from it. Therefore, employers could be vicariously liable and face discrimination claims if they fail to comply with their legal duty.
Claiming with Redmans
If, like the former Activision Blizzard technology executive, you believe you’ve experienced age discrimination, contact us today. Redmans Solicitors are specialists in employment law and have helped several clients with their legal issues. During a consultation, we will discuss your circumstances, assess your eligibility to claim compensation and advise on how to proceed.
Moreover, we understand everyone’s situation will differ, especially since the Covid pandemic. As such, we offer various funding options to ensure we can provide you with the service you need in a manner that best fits your circumstances.
So, if you would like to start your journey with us today, simply: