This week, Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed an expanded anti-discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. In addition to the female full-time staff, it now includes contract workers. Moreover, DFEH alleges the publisher’s “failure to maintain and produce records.”
As reported by Axios, the language of the original lawsuit has been updated to include “contingent or temporary workers.” Generally, the word “employees” has been changed to “workers” in the context of the alleged transgressions.
The new complaint also alleges that the company “directly interferes” with DFEH’s investigation. For example, Activision Blizzard has used NDAs to compel its staff to first talk with the company before they can reach out to DFEH. Even more seriously, the amended lawsuit claims that “documents related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel.” This is despite the firm’s obligation to “not destroy, conceal, or alter any documents or data relevant,” as required by the Document Retention Notice filed along with the original complaint.
The involvement of WilmerHale, a union-busting law firm Activision Blizzard has brought in to investigate misconduct, is also seen as problematic.
In a statement to IGN, Activision Blizzard said that “We took appropriate steps to preserve information relevant to the DFEH investigation.” The publisher denied destroying information by shredding documents.
“We have provided the DFEH with clear evidence that we do not have gender pay or promotion disparities,” the company added. “Our senior leadership is increasingly diverse, with a growing number of women in key leadership roles across the company.”
Last week, DFEH also filed new court documents as part of its investigation into another gaming giant, Riot Games. Similarly, the agency claims that Riot has been making it difficult for DFEH to obtain the relevant information while stalling the production of the corrective notices to employees.
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