Activision-Blizzard’s petition to dismiss discrimination suit was thrown out, company faces fresh unfair labor practice charges

    
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The legal woes for Blizzard continue to stack up today as the company has both lost an attempt to dismiss the California gender discrimination suit and faces new charges of unfair labor practices from the Communication Workers Alliance.

The Second Appellate District of the Court of Appeal has officially thrown out Blizzard’s petition to dismiss last year’s gender discrimination lawsuit by California’s Civil Rights Department (formerly known as the DFEH), knocking down the last legal roadblock that Blizzard has thrown in front of the suit and paving the way for a trial in February 2023.

“The Court of Appeal’s ruling allows the CRD to continue pursuing relief for the thousands of women in California who have suffered sex-based discrimination, harassment, and retaliation as Activision workers,” a spokesperson for the CRD is quoted as saying. Blizzard, meanwhile, called the ruling “disappointing” and continued to claim that the CRD ignored its own rules to “rush” the filing.

Meanwhile, the CWA union that has been aiding Blizzard workers who formed unions within Blizzard has filed unfair labor practice charges against the studio, claiming that communications executive Lulu Cheng Meservey made threatening statements in a company Slack channel.

“Last week, Meservey sent a company-wide Slack message disparaging the union, making threats to withhold raises and benefit improvements from workers who joined the union, and giving workers an impression that their union affiliation and/or support was under surveillance,” alleges the CWA. “Although Meservey called for ‘direct dialogue’ in her rant, most staff were prevented from directly responding in the Slack channel.”

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company 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 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which 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 unionize and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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