Activision Blizzard asks court to dismiss DFEH sexual harassment lawsuit

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Activision Blizzard has asked a state court to dismiss a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against it by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

The filing in Los Angeles Superior Court states that DFEH failed to properly investigate the claim before filing it. The filing also states that DFEH failed to negotiate a resolution and failed to mediate with the company before filing a lawsuit last year. And in the process, Activision Blizzard said, DFEH had unjustifiably damaged the company’s reputation and undermined public trust.

“We are moving forward to dismiss DFEH’s complaint because the agency violated its own rules, acted in bad faith and undermined its authority to prosecute,” Activision Blizzard said in a statement. “Our proposal comes just days after DEO joined EEOC to oppose the sixth attempt by DFEH to disrupt the federal settlement reached with EEOC, which is already helping Activision create a better and more inclusive workplace and relieving and closing current and former employees. Is helping. “

The July 2021 DFEH lawsuit alleges that the company had a “freight house culture” where sexual harassment was tolerated and complaints were lodged. It alleges that female employees were subjected to harassment, unequal pay, retaliation and failure to stop harassment. Dozens of Activision Blizzard employees were either fired or left the company voluntarily following the lawsuit.

Activision Blizzard alleges the lawsuit was the result of “unprecedented inter-agency friction and government misconduct” that began in 2018 as a regular and overlapping investigation by the Federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and DFEH. The filing noted that DFEH had appointed two former EEOC attorneys who were involved in the investigation of Activision Blizzard’s EEOC. The company said this is an ethical violation by DFEH, as it has handed over its own investigation to those lawyers.

The filing states that the two agencies have decided to split work with the EEOC, focusing on harassment and retaliation in the workplace, while DFEH will focus on other gender discrimination claims surrounding pay and promotion. But DFEH expanded its focus to include matters being investigated by the EEOC. DFEH’s attorney general, Janet Weeper (who was terminated in another controversial move led by Governor Gavin News), insisted on proceeding with a larger investigation and eventually filed a lawsuit without proper due process, filing. Wiper’s assistant chief prosecutor in the case also resigned after Wiper was fired.

The filing also states that DFEH launched a media campaign to damage the reputation of both Activision Blizzard and EEOC, which recently settled its lawsuit for 18 million. DFEH accused the EEOC of suppressing the evidence and allegedly tried to break the settlement between Activision Blizzard and the EEOC. A federal court has ruled that the dispute between the agencies is “inappropriate.”

It is alleged that Wiper provided details of the case to the Wall Street Journal while DFEH director Kevin Kish spoke to the Washington Post. And he alleged that DFEH disclosed that it had completed its investigation before receiving the requested material from Activision Blizzard.

We have asked DFEH for comment. The agency said the answer would be in its court filing.

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