California Expands Discrimination Lawsuit Against Activision Blizzard Citing Interference from HR
2021/08/24 at 5:32 PM
An amended complaint in the State of California's
lawsuit against Activision Blizzard
was filed yesterday, expanding the scope of their investigation into widespread harassment and discrimination. As
reported by Axios
, the complaint now covers temporary contract workers as well as full-time employees, and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing has also leveled charges of obstruction, alleging that Activision Blizzard human resources department failed to maintain documents related to the investigation. The suit claims that Activision did not retain employee files as long as they were legally obligated to, and further alleges that the gaming company has been withholding information relevant to the investigation by using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to require employees to speak with the company before contacting the DFEH, and directly interfering with the State's ability to investigate, prosecute, and remedy workplace discrimination violations.
The Eleventh Clause of Action condemns Activision Blizzard for failing to maintain records and disclose investigatory information to the DFEH.
These updates follow a report made late last month which depicted a
human resources department setup to fail employees
from the start. Allegations that employees were discouraged from making complaints, and that little to no action was ever taken are eerily similar to the
complaints made against Ubisoft last year
, in which dozens of accusations were found to have been long forgotten, mishandled, or flat out ignored by their human resources department. This all too common story has been repeated at
, and several other major developers, proving a systemic issue across the industry, rather than contained within one studio.
During the most recent quarterly investor earnings conference call, CEO
Bobby Kotick made a strongly worded speech
stating that "any management or leader found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims" would be terminated. The same week, both
Blizzard Entertainment President J. Allen Brack
and the studio's
head of Global Human Resources
left the company, though only one of the demands made during the
employee walkout in late July
has been met so far, with
Frances Townsend stepping down
as Executive Sponsor of the ABK Women's Network.
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