Parents Claim Their Daughter’s Suicide Was Caused by Sexual Harassment at Activision Blizzard

According to The Washington Post, the parents of an Activision Blizzard employee who committed suicide on a work retreat in 2017 are suing the company for wrongful death. Kerri Moynihan’s parents, Paul and Janet Moynihan, allege that sexual harassment was a “major factor” in her death. Kerri Moynihan was a 32-year-old finance manager at Activision Blizzard. After she was discovered dead in a hotel room at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in April 2017, investigators ruled her death a suicide.

Moynihan was referenced in a lawsuit filed last July by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which accused Activision Blizzard of cultivating a toxic workplace culture of continuous sexual harassment. Her male coworkers allegedly distributed around a photo of her intimate parts at a holiday party before her death, according to the DFEH’s complaint. Activision Blizzard stated the DFEH’s charges were “distorted, and in many cases untrue” when the lawsuit was filed.

Kerri Moynihan's sexual harassment

Kerri Moynihan, Activision Blizzard’s Finance Manager faces sexual harassment in the workplace.

Activision Blizzard “fostered and condoned a work climate in which sexual harassment was endemic,” according to a copy of the latest lawsuit seen by The Washington Post, and it failed to prohibit such harassment. It also accuses Greg Restituito, Moynihan’s boss, of concealing his sexual contact with her from investigators. Restituito was the senior finance director of Activision Blizzard until May 2017, a month after Moynihan committed suicide.

During the inquiry into Moynihan’s death, Activision Blizzard allegedly refused to allow authorities access to both Moynihan and Restituito’s company-issued phones and laptops, according to the lawsuit.

Since last year’s lawsuit, Activision Blizzard has been mired in scandal. The Wall Street Journal published a bombshell report alleging Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of rampant sexual misconduct at the company months after employees staged a walkout to protest workplace discrimination — Kotick is still the CEO despite employee and shareholder calls for his resignation. Microsoft announced its acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January, with Kotick staying on as the company’s CEO until the deal completes in 2023.

This announcement comes as Activision Blizzard faces a lawsuit from the state of California alleging that the gaming company promoted a “frat boy” culture in which female employees were subjected to harassment, unequal pay, and a hostile work environment.

“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,” CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement when the bombshell report came out. “I am sorry that anyone had to experience inappropriate conduct, and I remain unwavering in my commitment to make Activision Blizzard one of the world’s most inclusive, respected, and respectful workplaces.”

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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