For the second time since this year, publisher Activision Blizzard—the subject of historic allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination—has tried to get the case against it thrown out. And for the second time, it has failed.
In an attempt to stop California’s Civil Rights Department (formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or DFEH) from going ahead with its landmark case, the publisher asked earlier this year for the Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss it on the grounds of a technicality—namely that the department had “failed to comply with its pre-filing obligations before bringing”—saying in August that:
We are moving to dismiss the DFEH’s Complaint because the agency violated its own rules, acted in bad faith, and undermined its authority to file this lawsuit. Our motion comes just days after we joined the EEOC in opposing the sixth attempt by the DFEH to disrupt the federal settlement reached with the EEOC that already is helping Activision build a better and more inclusive workplace and providing relief and closure to current and former employees.
Activision also claimed that the CRD “fueled a media campaign to tarnish the reputation...of Activision Blizzard,” assuming this would see them off the hook. The court “declined to do so,” however, so Activision Blizzard more recently took things to the Court of Appeal, who have now also said no. As Axios reports, the CRD issued a statement earlier this week celebrating this victory, saying
With the Court of Appeal’s denial of a writ of mandate, the CRD will continue litigating this case to enforce the civil rights guarantees in the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the California Equal Pay Act on behalf of women who worked for Activision. The Court of Appeal’s ruling allows the CRD to continue pursuing relief for the thousands of women in California who have suffered sex-based discrimination, harassment, and retaliation as Activision workers.
This means the case is now definitely going ahead, though with both parties requesting delays for various reasons, it’s not expected to take place until we’re well into 2023.
UPDATE: An Activision spokesperson tells Kotaku:
The Legislature established clear rules for the DFEH, and the agency ignored them in its rush to file a lawsuit. These were fundamental violations that invalidated the DFEH’s authority to sue. While the 2nd District’s decision not to consider the matter before trial was disappointing, we look forward to demonstrating that the rule of law applies equally to those tasked with enforcing it.