Strap back in, folks, because we’re not quite done here. After agreeing upon an $18 Million settlement for their alleged gender discrimination, the settlement has been opposed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on the grounds that this settlement would seriously hurt their own case against the company.
Normally, this intervention would have to wait a bit longer (7 days), but the DFEH has filed their motion ex parte, allowing it to be granted instantly should the court find it reasonable. The DFEH has defended their decision, claiming that Activision Blizzard’s settlement would allow them to destroy extremely important evidence in their own, separate case.
The DFEH takes issue with two specific clauses in the settlement. The first of these would allow Blizzard to “Remove from the personnel files of each Eligible Claimant any references to the allegations related to sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and/or related retaliation,” as Kotaku reports. The DFEH has pointed out that this will effectively allow the company to scrub their records of any and all evidence related to the DFEH’s own case against Blizzard. This won’t even be the first time Blizzard has been accused of destroying evidence: A previous accusation made by the DFEH that Blizzard was actively shredding harmful evidence (originally reported by Kotaku). These claims certainly don’t paint the company in a great light, but that isn’t all.
The second clause brought up by the DFEH would allow Blizzard to re-allocate funds from the aforementioned $18 Million settlement into the company’s own programs. Granted, these programs are described as “to be used by Defendants exclusively for diversity, inclusion and equity efforts beyond the scope and terms of this Decree,” but the DFEH takes issue with the fact that the money can be routed back to Activision in the first place, regardless of how they’re intended to be used.
All this is piled atop numerous procedural failings Blizzard simply didn’t bother with: Most notably the fact that Blizzard never informed their court about their other ongoing lawsuit. This is especially problematic considering that both cases are centered on extremely similar accusations. Hopefully, all parties can come to a conclusion soon and the brave employees who stepped forward can find justice.