Posted by Gabriella Conceicao.
Kerri Moynihan, a former employee of Activision, unfortunately, committed suicide in 2017. Parents of Moynihan filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, arguing that the hostile work environment their daughter suffered at their company contributed to her suicide. On Thursday, March 3rd, 2022, the Los Angeles Superior Court Lawsuit was ruled a suicide by the Orange County coroner, which happened during an Activision company retreat at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.
It is argued that the company permitted a sexually hostile work environment where female employees were continuously sexually harassed, belittled, discriminated against, and the company Activision failed to take the necessary steps to protect their female employees causing it to be an unbearable environment for some. There was a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed against Activision last July that described Moynihan’s experience as “at a holiday party before her death, male co-workers passed around a picture of the deceased’s vagina”. Moynihan’s parents were not even aware of this alleged harassment of their daughter until this DFEH lawsuit was made public.
The DFEH story also mentioned the sexual relationship Moynihan had with her male supervisor. His name is Greg Restituito who was a senior finance director for Activision and was married with a newborn son at the time of Moynihan’s death. This work relationship was against Activision’s policy. Restituito denied his relationship with Moynihan until his second interview with the police when he finally admitted it. Following that, Activision allegedly “refused to turn over Kerri’s work-issued laptop to the LAPD, refused to give them access to Restituito’s work-issued laptop, refused to give them access to Restituito’s work-issued cell phone, and told the police that Restituito’s cell phone had been ‘wiped.'” Activision failed to take immediate and suitable actions to correct what happened and failed to take the steps towards preventing sexual harassment in their workplace. The suit says that was a substantial factor in causing harm to Kerri. If proper action was taken, Kerri could have been saved by humiliation, embarrassment, belittlement, sadness, discomfort, pain and suffering, and possibly her death at age 32.
I believe that Activision did contribute to Moynihan’s death due to them not taking the necessary steps to protect their female workers. Even after the suicide, they are still trying to protect themselves by refusing to turn over the work-issued laptops. This hostile work environment will not stop with Moynihan, which is evident through Activision’s lack of concern or action towards their female employees, but rather their focus on covering up what has already been wrongfully done. Change must be done.
Gabriella Conceicao is a Finance and Information Technology Management major at the Stillman School of Business, Class of 2024.