As found by Axios reporter Stephen Totilo, Activision Blizzard is requesting that the courts pause the ongoing lawsuit against the company in order to investigate claims of “alleged ethics violations” by California laywers. Activision Blizzard further states that if the allegations are true, the entire lawsuit should be disqualified.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is alleging that the Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) lawyers committed a major ethics violation by having two former EEOC lawyers help head up the DFEH lawsuit, then objecting to Activision Blizzard’s settlement with the EEOC. This settlement will see Activision Blizzard create an $18 million fund for “eligible claimants,” with any money not claimed going to women’s charities and raising awareness of workplace harassment.
Activision Blizzard and its leadership, including CEO Bobby Kotick, are currently being subpoenaed by the SEC. Several senior developers have been let go from Blizzard Entertainment, including the original game director on upcoming action-role playing game Diablo 4 and the namesake for Overwatch hero McCree.
The DFEH states that Activision Blizzard has not cooperated with the investigation, though Activision Blizzard maintains that it has complied with “every proper request.” Activision Blizzard is also being charged with violating labor laws, with Tom Smith, national organizing director at the Communications Workers of America, stating that “…Activision Blizzard’s response to righteous worker activity was surveillance, intimidation, and hiring notorious union busters.”