California DFEH appeals court denial to intervene in Activision-Blizzard’s EEOC settlement


California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing is not about to call it quits on fighting Activision-Blizzard’s settlement with the US’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from September 2021. Readers will recall that the DFEH raised objections to the settlement, attempting to intervene in the matter but ultimately being denied by the judge hearing the case. As of this past Friday, the DFEH has filed an appeal to that decision.

The settlement in question with the EEOC effectively saw ActiBlizz get away with a slap on the wrist, agreeing to a payment to halt the federal department’s investigation into its work culture and promising to create an $18 million fund to compensate eligible claimants; Activision-Blizzard was valued at $72B at the start of 2021.

In tangential news, Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who readers will recall had said in an internal email that the company would take some form of action against ActiBlizz for the “troubling” revelations, stated in an interview that he would not be elaborating on just what action has been taken.

“We have changed how we do certain things with them, and they’re aware of that. But I also—this isn’t about, for us as Xbox, virtue-shaming other companies. Xbox’s history is not spotless.”

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. Last summer, 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. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation.
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