The State of California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing is stepping up its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard and its toxic workplace culture. In addition to extending the scope of who Activision Blizzard has wronged, California is also claiming that the company is shredding evidence of their wrongdoing.
As reported by Axios, the DFEH amended their complaint against Activision Blizzard on Monday, adding contingent and contract workers to the group wronged by the company. The DFEH has also called out the company for interfering with the investigation through non-disclosure agreements, requiring workers to speak with the company before contacting the DFEH, and for WilmerHale's investigation, which the DFEH says "directly interferes" with its own investigation. Finally, the DFEH also claims that "documents related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel," violating what it claims is the company's legal obligation to keep them during the course of the investigation.
In response, Activision Blizzard has released a statement (as noted by EuroGamer.) The full statement is as follows:
"Throughout our engagement with the DFEH [State of California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing], we have complied with every proper request in support of its review even as we had been implementing reforms to ensure our workplaces are welcoming and safe for every employee. Those changes continue today, and include:
- Several high-level personnel changes;
- Revamped hiring and recruiting practices requiring diverse interview panels;
- Greater transparency on pay equity;
- Expanded and improved training and investigative capabilities for human resource and compliance staff;
- Created investigation teams outside of business units to support greater independence;
- Restructured divisions to support greater accountability;
- Enhanced review processes to include evaluation of managers by employees;
- Clear boundaries on workplace behaviour with a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and other actions that diminish or marginalise.
"We strive to be a company that recognizes and celebrates the diverse talents and perspectives that lead to the creation of great, globally appealing entertainment. We have provided the DFEH with clear evidence that we do not have gender pay or promotion disparities. Our senior leadership is increasingly diverse, with a growing number of women in key leadership roles across the company.
"We share DFEH's goal of a safe, inclusive workplace that rewards employees equitably and are committed to setting an example that others can follow."
A follow-up email after the initial statement denies that any evidence was shredded. "We took appropriate steps to preserve information relevant to the DFEH investigation," it adds.