The California Department of Fair Employment & Housing has alleged that Activision Blizzard “shredded” numerous internal documents in an attempt to blunt the state government’s investigations pertaining to the recent sexual harassment lawsuit leveled against the once-renowned video game production company.

Source: Heroes of the Storm Cinematic Trailer (2015), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: Activision Blizzard Hit With Lawsuit Over Alleged “Frat Boy Workplace Culture”, Including On-The-Job Alcohol Use And Rampant Sexual Harassment Of Female Employees

This accusation was made by the State in a recent amended complaint filed by the State of California against Activision Blizzard on August 23rd, as reported by Axios reporters Megan Farokhmanesh and Stephen Totilo, who were reportedly able to review a copy of the new filing.

As reported, the amended complaint features a number of notable changes from the version that was initially filed. 

Source: Overwatch “Moira Origin Story” (2017), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: Blizzard President J. Allen Brack Steps Down Amid Activision-Blizzard Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit

This includes the alteration of all instances of the word “employees” to “workers” in order to extend the lawsuit’s purview to include the video game company’s temporary workers (such as QA testers), and the addition of the accusation that Activision Blizzard’s hiring of law firm WilmerHale (whose website previously boasted that the firm offers “advising on union awareness and avoidance,” but has since edited their marketing copy to read “advising on unions and management-employee relations”) “directly interferes” with the State’s ability to “investigate, prosecute, and remedy workplace discrimination and harassment violations on behalf of employees and contingent or temporary workers.”

Further, in perhaps the most troubling new addition to the claim, the State also accuses that Activision Blizzard “documents related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel” in violation of the company’s legal responsibilities.

Source: World of Warcraft: Shadowlands (2020), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: God of War Director David Jaffe Blames “White Privilege” Of Former Blizzard Staff For Recently Alleged Failings of Activision Blizzard

Following Axios’ report on the amended complaint, an Activision Blizzard spokesman issued a statement to the outlet asserting that the company had “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.”

“With regards to claims that we have destroyed information by shredding documents, those claims are not true,” they continued. “We took appropriate steps to preserve information relevant to the DFEH investigation.” 

“We have provided the DFEH with clear evidence that we do not have gender pay or promotion disparities.” they continued.

The spokesman then added, “Our senior leadership is increasingly diverse, with a growing number of women in key leadership roles across the company.”

Source: Overwatch 2 Cinematic Trailer (2019), Blizzard Entertainment

Related: Activision Blizzard Employees Hold #ActiBlizzWalkout In Response To Recent ‘Frat Boy Workplace Culture’ Lawsuit

In an extended statement provided to Kotaku, an Activision Blizzard spokesman reiterated the points made by Axios, and added a list of “reforms” the company has allegedly begun to undertake, including.

The statement began, “Throughout our engagement with DFEH, 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 behavior with a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and other actions that diminish or marginalize.

Source: World of Warcraft: Shadowlands (2020), Blizzard Entertainment

The spokesman added, “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 goals of a safe, inclusive workplace that rewards employees equitably and are committed to setting an example that others can follow,” the spokesman concluded.

Source: World of Warcraft: Shadowlands (2019), Blizzard Entertainment

What do you make of California’s updated complaint against Activision Blizzard? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi
    Associate Editor

    Spencer is the Associate Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

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