Federal Judge Rules That California DFEH Cannot Intervene In EEOC's $18 Million Settlement With Activision Blizzard
Judge Fischer called the two agencies' spat "highly inappropriate" and "a bit unseemly."
When Activision Blizzard settled with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to create an $18 million fund for those affected by the alleged sexual harassment that occurred at the company over several years, it raised a number of eyebrows. Not the least of those concerned parties was the California Department of Fair and Equal Housing, which filed the original suit against the company that blew the doors open on the entire state of affairs at the developer and publisher.
The DFEH filed a motion against that settlement, claiming that "irreparable harm will occur" if it was allowed to go through and Activision Blizzard was allowed to settle its claims for what was perceived as a trivially small amount. That attempt, however, has amounted to nothing, as a federal judge today ruled against the DFEH, calling its attempt at intervention "highly inappropriate" and scoring a mild victory for Activision Blizzard in the process.
Bloomberg Law reports that Federal judge Dale S. Fischer declared that the two departments' public dispute -- which included Activision Blizzard accusing the DFEH of unethical behavior for two of its attornies being part of the EEOC's investigation -- was "a bit unseemly" and, in a pretty harsh rebuke, said that "I feel like I should send the two of you to a mediator, never mind Activision getting involved in this."
Activision and the EEOC will have until early January to submit clarifications to their settlement, after which the DFEH will have 14 days to respond.
At this point, it seems unlikely that the DFEH will succeed in its bid to secure greater compensation from Activision Blizzard, as the EEOC getting its way "would release Activision from state claims, which the federal agency lacks standing to prosecute," Bloomberg Law stated. The $18 million figure the EEOC seeks would represent only a fraction of what Bobby Kotick makes in a typical year, much less putting any kind of dent into the profitibility of Activision Blizzard as whole; it could thus be reasoned that the settlement will provide little disincentive for the company to avoid similar issues in the future.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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