Activision Blizzard scored a win in court this week when a federal judge allowed plans for the previously announced settlement between the company and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to move forward and denied California’s attempt to be a party to the case or grant a stay.
When the deal to settle with the EEOC was announced last year, some were concerned that the terms weren’t clear enough or the monetary amount was insufficient. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which filed a huge lawsuit against the company over the summer over claims of sexual harassment, workplace discrimination and a wide ranging list of incidents, sought to stop the settlement from moving forward and filed a suit to do that.
The judge in this case, Dale Fischer, had already declared at a hearing in December that she would not allow the DFEH to intervene because “it’s just not appropriate“ a final decision after that hearing was still pending at the time, but she also said it was unlikely that she would change her mind in the matter.
Now that the case will be moving forward, there’s no opportunity for the DFEH to get a stay, but the DFEH has filed an appeal. That appeal is still pending, but this latest decision will let the settlement case move to its next phase even though that appeal will still be heard.
The judge’s decision is based on what she determined could warrant intervention now, but ultimately not finding valid reasons. In her statement she wrote that “DFEH has never clearly enunciated what advantage it seeks to gain by its participation as a formal party [rather than by filing a brief with its stance].” Another reason to not grant the stay was because those whose cases might gain “relief” from the EEOC settlement would be denied that for longer. “If the stay goes into effect,” she wrote, “the relief for certain will not happen for some time even if the settlement is otherwise appropriate and beneficial”.
The deal still requires formal approval, and the DFEH can give statements in the case as an outside party but has been denied the ability to participate as a formal party involved in the attempt to block it.