California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) says that renowned game publishing studio Blizzard Entertainment, and its owner Activision Blizzard, have created a culture of “constant sexual harassment” and gender-based discrimination, in a new lawsuit filed Tuesday that claims top executives were aware and/or involved. And in the hours since the suit was revealed, numerous women have already stepped forward to corroborate the allegations.


Because it involves the company and not individuals, I am wondering how much can a company be required to pay, especially if some executives are involved and not all executives including the CEO, and there's counter evidence that certain things were done according to internal procedures. I am not sure how a company can be held responsible especially if the internal documents show that the internal procedures for dealing with sexual harassment and discrimination followed the law, but it's certain executives who chose to not abide by those internal procedures (although I am not sure if this is the case, but I am extrapolating it is the case).

  • 1
    For the title of your question: Damages will be calculated the same as always - who suffered damages, and how much is that damage. And Dale's answer to the content of your question says: Yes, the company has to pay for the damages. With "widespread discrimination and harassment" damages will obviously add up.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 10:58

2 Answers 2


A company is liable for the actions of its agents

This is known as vicarious liability and some well-established situations where this happens is in employer-employee and company-officer, "executives", if senior enough, would be both employees and officers. Without it, the concept of a company just doesn't work - a company is only a record in a database, it can only act through human agents.

So, if an employee or officer of the company by act or omission causes harm in the course of executing their duties, then the company has caused the harm.

It is not enough for a company to have adequate "internal procedures", it (which is to say the people with the power to act for it) must ensure that those procedures are followed and actually work. The allegations include that at least some senior personnel were aware that breaches of the law were occurring and they did not take steps to stop them - what they know, the company knows; what they do or don't do, the company does or doesn't do.


The Complaint filed by the state in the case (found in the linked article) sets forth the damages sought:

  1. Compensatory and punitive damages;

  2. Unpaid wages, liquidated damages, and other remedies and penalties available under the Equal Pay Act;

  3. injunctive relief;

  4. Declaratory relief;

  5. Equitable relief, including but not limited to reinstatement and/or front pay, pay adjustments, backpay, lost wages and benefits (including base pas, incentive pay, pension benefits and awards), in an amount to be proven at trial;

  6. Prejudgment interest, as required by law;

  7. Attoneys’ fees and costs to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing; and

  8. Other relief the Court deems to be just and proper

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