Activision Blizzard’s legal troubles just took another potential turn. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is appealing a judge’s decision that denies it from intervening in the $18 million settlement between the game developer and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to a document filed Friday.
Activision Blizzard and the EEOC settled a lawsuit regarding the developer’s allegedly toxic culture in September, establishing a consent decree that included Activision Blizzard creating an $18 million settlement fund to compensate employees. This case is separate from the DFEH’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard filed in July, which is ongoing.
In October, however, the DFEH filed a motion to intervene, arguing that the consent decree could release Activision Blizzard from the state’s claims and potentially allow the company to destroy evidence relevant to the DFEH’s case. A judge denied the motion in December, and now, the DFEH is appealing that decision.
The game developer has been embroiled in controversy since the DFEH filed its lawsuit last summer. Employees have petitioned to remove CEO Bobby Kotick, but he remains in his post despite a bombshell report alleging he was aware of sexual misconduct allegations at the company for years. And some employees have been striking for weeks in response to surprise layoffs of QA employees at Raven Software, which is known for its work on the Call of Duty series.
Disclosure: Casey Wasserman is on the board of directors for Activision Blizzard as well as the board of directors of Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.