Soon after California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) objected to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) planned settlement with Activision Blizzard, the EEOC filed its own opposition. This conflict will probably make the whole situation even more complicated.
On October 7, the DFEH said that the EEOC shouldn’t have agreed to settle its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for $18 million.
California’s authorities think that it will cause “irreparable harm” to its own lawsuit. “The proposed consent decree also contains provisions sanctioning the effective destruction and/or tampering of evidence critical to the DFEH’s case, such as personnel files and other documents referencing sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination,” the objection reads (via PC Gamer).
The DFEH added that the $18 million fund that Activision Blizzard created to compensate employees claiming harassment damages was too small.
On October 8, the EEOC opposed the DFEH’s objection, accusing California’s authorities of violating professional ethics.
That’s where things get complicated. According to the EEOC, lawyers opposing the settlement are former EEOC lawyers who were heavily involved in the commission’s investigation. These actions might be treated as a conflict of interest, as they violate the California Rule of Professional Conduct.
The EEOC also said that it was caught off guard by the scope of the DFEH lawsuit filed in July. It is unclear how these organizations will resolve their conflict, which will probably make it more difficult for the court to make decisions both in the DFEH case and the settlement between Activision Blizzard and the EEOC that still should be approved by a judge.
The scandal around Activision Blizzard led to a staff exodus. Blizzard has lost a few key employees over the last few months, including president J. Allen Brack, chief legal officer Claire Hart, HR head Jesse Meschuk, as well as several senior devs of World of Warcraft and Diablo.
On top of the EEOC and DFEH cases, the Securities and Exchange Commission launched its own investigation into the company.