California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has filed an amended complaint against Activision Blizzard and accused the company of destroying relevant personnel documents, a claim the company denies. The original complaint against Activision Blizzard accuses the company of creating a toxic work environment and allowing discrimination and harassment of female employees to flourish.
In the updated filing, DFEH highlights that Activision Blizzard employees are being directed to give relevant testimony to attorneys at a “union-busting” law firm and to then tell state investigators that their testimony is confidential under attorney-client privilege. The filing also details attempts to coerce employees into signing waivers and non-disclosure agreements requiring employees to notify the company, and prevent certain discussions, if certain topics are approached in any discussion with state investigators. Also added to the filing were claims that it was not only full-time employees experiencing the harassment and discrimination, but temporary and contract workers too.
See the updated legal filing here.
Activision Blizzard’s response to the DFEH actions has appeared to many observers as defensive and tone-deaf, and the response so far has not been well-received by employees, leading to complaints and an employee walkout. Activision Blizzard has terminated many senior level positions since the news of the original DFEH action was disclosed. One such firing was Jesse McCree, the lead designer of the unreleased video game Diablo IV. McCree also happened to be the namesake for a character in a different Activision Blizzard game, the competitive shooter Overwatch, which lead to calls for renaming the character. Yesterday, Overwatch announced that they would indeed rename the character.
The revelation of Activision Blizzard’s toxic working environment as described in the DFEH action continues to have unexpected consequences. Employment law violations vary in scope, with Activision Blizzard’s alleged violations on the large end of the spectrum. Most violations of employment law are much smaller, affecting only a few or even a single employee. But regardless of scope, the law is designed to protect the victims of workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. If your employer has violated employment law, the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help. We provide free consultations, so call us today at 888-517-9888 to see if you have a claim. Your call is completely confidential.