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Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard announced plans Monday to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hours after it was filed.

Why it matters: This is Activision's most visible acknowledgment of problems at the company, in the wake of a series of workplace misconduct lawsuits, complaints and investigations initiated against the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" maker since the summer.

  • In a 49-page consent decree, the company technically denied any wrongdoing but agreed to a three-year period of extensive oversight.
  • According to the agreement, which is subject to a judge's approval, Activision Blizzard will establish "an $18 million fund to compensate and make amends to eligible claimants." (Activision's operating income for its most recent quarter was $959 million.)
  • Eligible employees have to have worked for one of the company's U.S. locations since Sept. 1, 2016.

Between the lines: The EEOC lawsuit from earlier today said the agency investigated Activision for over 2 1/2 years and found that employees were "subjected [to] sexual harassment" and that the company, when notified, "failed to take corrective and preventative measures."

  • It also alleged that the company discriminated against pregnant employees and retaliated against workers who took issue with the aforementioned behaviors.
  • The EEOC sought a jury trial, adding to pressure Activision is facing from a harassment and discrimination suit by the state of California, and investigations by the National Labor Relations Board and the SEC.
  • Beyond the compensation fund, settlement terms include improved anti-harassment training, oversight by an independent consultant, regular reports to the EEOC, explicit policies about the consumption of alcohol at company events and the expansion of mental health support for employees.

What they're saying: "There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind, and I am grateful to the employees who bravely shared their experiences," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a company statement announcing the planned settlement.

  • "I am sorry that anyone had to experience inappropriate conduct."

What's next: Activision has a pending legal showdown with California's Department of Fair Housing & Employment, whose lawsuit remains underway.

  • In a court filing last week, an Activision lawyer complained about the DFEH's lack of availability to meet to discuss the suit but vowed to respond to the suit by Oct. 22.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Companies under pressure to disclose more information to investors

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook's latest firestorm highlights a broader reckoning over what public companies should disclose to investors, both about their external impacts and their inner workings.

Why it matters: The belief that all companies need to disclose is how much money they’re making, and how much they’re spending, is quickly becoming outdated.

New complaints unlikely to hobble Facebook

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A former Facebook employee has filed eight complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging the social network deceived investors. But even if regulators find the company at fault, it’s unlikely to remake Facebook in a drastic way.

Why it matters: Critics of Big Tech companies like Facebook have increasingly pushed for the government to halt certain practices — driven by advertising business models — they say allow or encourage harmful content.

Updated 37 mins ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.