Sexual Harassment in the Video Game Industry – 4 Signs You are Being Harassed

August 22, 2023

Sexual Harassment in the Video Game Industry – 4 Signs You are Being Harassed

The Video Game Industry is growing - including players like this one in headphones

The video game industry has continuously evolved since the 1980’s.

The global video game industry was valued at $159.3 billion dollars in 2020. The pandemic actually drove sales up, with a 31 percent increase for spending on video games and gaming subscription services.

According to the International Trade Commission, there’s an estimated 2.7 billion gamers worldwide. There’s at least one gamer in 75 percent of US households.

From Pac-Man and Mario to Atari and PlayStation, the video game industry has led to some of the biggest pop culture moments of the last 40 plus years. 

The video game industry directly employs over 725,000 people in America. However, the video game industry has long been known for its lack of diversity, especially in gender roles.

The International Game Developers Association reported that 71% of game developers globally are men. This is down from over 80% in 2010. 

The lack of diversity is not the only issue. There are many reports of harassment in the video game industry. 

Headquartered in Santa Monica, Activision Blizzard is known for many major video game series, including Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Overwatch

In July 2021, Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging harassment, discrimination, and retaliation

The Society of Women Engineers reported that further investigation found a “frat boy” environment, where male employees joked about rape.

Male superiors would constantly harass female employees, including times where they would partake in “cube crawls” that involved getting drunk and crawling through cubicles. Other claims in the report state that male employees would pass off tasks to female employees so they could play games.

An unnamed female employee committed suicide after being sexually harassed, including having naked photos of her circulate at a holiday party. 

These horrible acts are not only unacceptable, but illegal

Harassment can occur in many ways. It’s usually in the form of some type of behavior that interferes with the employee’s ability to perform their normal job duties.

In this situation, many female employees were sexually harassed. Sexual harassment can involve a number of inappropriate behaviors, including:

  • Unwanted sexual advances or requests 
  • Unwanted sexual comments or jokes 
  • Unwanted sexual photos, emails, or text messages 
  • Physical touching or assault 
  • Sexual gestures or leering

Furthermore, all employees in California are protected from illegal discrimination by their employers on the basis of gender. Discrimination is defined as “prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment”. 

For example, one female employee says she was turned over for a promotion because she was pregnant. In this situation, the employee was discriminated against because of her pregnancy. 

While women in the Video Game Industry have grown, almost three quarters are still men.

There are many individuals protected from discrimination by California law

Additionally, retaliation occurs when an employee is punished for taking part in a legally protected act. Any negative actions taken that result from these acts are considered retaliatory.

Employers will often try to punish employees that speak up about any wrongdoings.

However, employees are protected from the negative ramifications of engaging in legally protected activities like: 

  • Reporting harassment 
  • Reporting discrimination 
  • Reporting unsafe work conditions/labor code violations 
  • Reporting company violation of any laws 
  • Refusing to engage in discriminatory or otherwise illegal activity

Retaliation can come in many forms, including: 

  • Termination
  • Demotion 
  • Reduced pay or benefits 
  • Denial of promotion
  • Denial of pay increase 
  • Being transferred to a new location
  • Being forced into a new position

If you’re a member of the video game industry who has been a victim of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation in the workplace, you should consider contacting an LA employment attorney.

Confronting your employer over these accusations is never an easy task. It’s not uncommon for victims to feel shame, embarrassment, or fear.

At C&B Law Group, our team of Los Angeles employment attorneys are prepared to help you through these troubling times. 

We will hold responsible parties accountable for all damages, with the goal to not only bring you compensation, but hopefully peace of mind as well.

Reach out to C&B Law Group today for a free consultation

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