Activision Blizzard is seeking dismissal of parts of a lawsuit brought against the company by the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, with the video game maker alleging the agency’s desire for media attention has damaged the firm’s reputation with unfounded allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the DFEH separately sued Activision over the same allegations, but Activision reached an $18 million settlement with the federal regulator in October. The DFEH is seeking to contest that settlement, arguing it will release Activision Blizzard from any state claims.
Activision Blizzard attorneys filed court papers Friday seeking dismissal of the DFEH’s causes of action for employment discrimination because of sex, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination and harassment. The DFEH failed to investigate, mediate and negotiate those claims before filing suit, according to the Activision attorneys’ court papers.
The DFEH is not permitted to bring or maintain litigation under the state Fair Employment and Housing Act until it follows the three steps and the courts do not have jurisdiction over such claims until the agency does so, according to the court papers.
“This motion concerns the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s fundamental failure to follow its governing statute in a rush to garner media attention that it hoped would prevent the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from fairly resolving workplace claims for the benefit of eligible claimants,” the company’s lawyers argue. “In the process, DFEH unfairly damaged the reputation of a company and undermined the public trust.”
Activision Blizzard has long taken steps to provide a “welcoming, safe and legally compliant workplace,” the court papers state.
A hearing on the Activision Blizzard dismissal motion is scheduled July 21 before Judge Timothy Patrick Dillon.
The Santa Monica-based company is behind such iconic video games as Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft.