California’s DFEH files an objection to the settlement between Activision-Blizzard and the EEOC


It probably seemed like Activision-Blizzard had actually finally dodged a bullet in its ongoing lawsuit drama when it reached a settlement with the EEOC that would hopefully take at least a little bit of the pressure off the company, but now that’s looking less likely. The California DFEH has filed a motion with the courts to stop this settlement, arguing that among the terms of the settlement are clauses that could allow Blizzard to remove evidence of sexual harassment reporting and the possibility of re-distributing some of the settlement funds back into Activision-Blizzard programs.

This development comes in the wake of the DFEH’s August accusation that Blizzard has already been destroying records illegally, which makes the prospect of any more removals dicey to say the least. Activision-Blizzard, for its part, has responded to the situation by denying any and all wrongdoing and emphasizing the positive sides of the planned EEOC settlement:

We are committed to making Activision-Blizzard the most welcoming, inclusive, and safe workplace possible. Our agreement with the EEOC reflects our commitment to significant improvements and transparency, as well as making immediate compensation available to eligible employees who choose to participate. Activision Blizzard is ensuring a workplace free from discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.

As the DFEH has stated that this settlement directly pertains to and could harm its ongoing case, it’s going to be interesting to see how this particular injunction plays out. It also notes that the EEOC failed to communicate with DFEH regarding the proposed settlement and did not wait until ongoing legal action was concluded, further complicating the arrangement. Which means that anyone in Activision-Blizzard breathing easier over that settlement is now a little more tense again.

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial company in the MMO and gaming space owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In the summer of 2021, the company was sued by the state of California for fostering a work environment riddled with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which has further compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. As of fall 2021, multiple state and federal agencies are currently investigating the company.
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