Judge rejects Activision Blizzard's attempt to pause California sexual harassment lawsuit

Following dispute between DFEH and EEOC.

Activision Blizzard’s attempt to pause California’s ongoing lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and a “frat boy” culture at the company has been rejected by an LA County Court judge.

Activision Blizzard moved to pause legal proceedings following a messy tussle between California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which had launched the original lawsuit against the publisher, and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – which had previously announced an $18m settlement deal with Activision as part of its own investigation into the company.

The DFEH objected to the settlement, claiming it would cause “irreparable harm” to its own lawsuit if approved by the court, and the EEOC retaliated by revealing the DFEH’s case was led – until very recently – by two of its own former lawyers, which would make the DFEH’s objection a conflict of interest and a potential legal issue regarding the conduct of those attorneys.

In response, the DFEH replaced the problematic lawyers, but Activision Blizzard’s own legal representation was quick to move, filing an application to stay proceedings as it investigated the EEOC’s claims. However, according to Law360 (via, LA County Court judge Timothy Patrick Dillon has now denied Activision’s application, less than a week after its submission – although no reason for the denial was given.

Last week also saw Activision Blizzard’s controversial chief compliance officer Fran Townsend offering an update on the publisher’s response to the California sexual harassment lawsuit, telling the Financial Times that “more than 20” employees had exited the company due to “various resolved reports”. A further 20 employees remained after investigation, but were said to have faced “other types of disciplinary action”.


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