One of the agencies investigating accusations against Activision Blizzard in California is now stepping in to attempt to prevent the company from finalizing its recently announced settlement with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC).
According to Axios' Stephen Totilo, who posted screenshots of a filing by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the DEFH filed a motion to block the settlement and allow for the department to file a full objection this month, in advance of a full hearing on the matter. The concern is that settling the EEOC case in the proposed way might undercut California's own case against Activision Blizzard and cause "irreparable harm" to the interests of the DEFH's case and "the interests of the employees whose interests will be negatively impacted" should the settlement be allowed to go through.
Part of the complaint focuses on the lack of clarity or details in the proposed settlement, and its $18 million figure. The lack of details about how the money would be allocated to those making the accusations, what amounts for each person, and concern that any leftover unclaimed funds would go back to the company. Some of the loosely described other terms made the DFEH concerned that it would open Activision Blizzard up to being able to destroy relevant evidence for its case, and the overall California case. The DFEH already suspected the company of trying to hide evidence before, so this move isn’t entirely surprising.
The legal issues for Activision Blizzard, which stem from investigations into sexual harassment, discrimination, retribution, and a hostile work environment will continue. This is the latest development in what is still likely to last for a while. With the initial EEOC settlement announcement, it seemed that perhaps one of them might be winding down, but if the motion applied for here is granted, then the matter of the EEOC settlement would go to court.