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Activision Judge’s Ruling in Turf War Draws California Appeal

Jan. 8, 2022, 3:33 AM

California’s civil rights agency said Friday it would appeal the decision blocking it from intervening in an $18 million settlement between Activision Blizzard Inc. and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the gaming giant in July, alleging systemic harassment and a toxic workplace culture.

The EEOC, which conducted its own investigation into Activision’s workplace issues, announced it had reached a settlement resolving harassment claims in September.

California sought to join the federal case in order to oppose the settlement, which it said resolves claims the federal agency lacks standing to prosecute, and would harm the state’s own case.

In December, Judge Dale S. Fischer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California rejected California’s bid to enter the case, but said she would allow DFEH to file an amicus brief.

“The first interest belongs to the individuals who might make claims under the claims process, not to DFEH,” Fischer wrote in denying the intervention motion. “DFEH’s argument would allow it potentially to intervene in almost any employment action in California.”

DFEH filed a notice of appeal in hopes the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will revive the agency’s bid for official recognition in the case.

Paul Hastings LLP represents Activision.

The case is U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Activision Blizzard, Inc., No. 2:21-cv-07682, 1/7/22 .

To contact the reporter on this story: Maeve Allsup in San Francisco at mallsup@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meghashyam Mali at mmali@bloombergindustry.com