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Union Pissed About Meager Activision Blizzard Settlement, Demands Fairness Hearing

Today, the Communication Workers of America union filed an objection to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) proposed settlement with Activision Blizzard regarding sexual harassment allegations at the game publisher. The union is, to say the least, unhappy with the settlement for reasons it outlines in excruciating detail in a letter, included in its objection filing, to the EEOC.

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This news arrives only hours after the case’s presiding judge denied the ex parte intervention motion filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). If you can’t keep track of all the parties involved in this case, I cannot blame you.

The background is that both the DFEH and EEOC engaged in parallel investigations into Activision Blizzard, culminating in two separate lawsuits. The DFEH filed its lawsuit first, and the EEOC followed. The EEOC and Activision Blizzard announced they had come to a resolution, and presented a $18m settlement, in the form of a consent decree, to the courts. The DFEH took umbrage with the consent decree and filed a motion to intervene, which the EEOC opposed. The CWA has now joined in the fun with its own objections against the EEOC’s proposed settlement.

In the CWA’s letter, the union lays out dozens of complaints with the current status of the consent decree and demands a fairness hearing at which its members can raise these criticisms to the court. These criticisms include: the fact that Activision Blizzard workers were not consulted, the lack of promised documentation, the complete absence of the employee notice that the consent decree promises, the paltry $450 per person legal fund for potential claimants, the lack of clarity as to who will be handling settlement claims, the comparatively miniscule payment ($18m is pennies to Activision Blizzard), the fact that the EEOC claims Activision Blizzard is not being punished despite the company’s obvious malfeasanceobviously punishable malpractice, and a lot of procedural complaints. This letter is scathing.

In addition to airing these explicit criticisms, the CWA also poses quite a few relevant questions to the EEOC, many of which I have been desperately asking myself as this case has consumed my brain for the last week. Here’s just a taste:

There are 31 items in this letter, encompassing every complaint, question, and demand you could possibly imagine—it is incredible. Two different parties taking up arms against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s settlement is not a good sign for Activision Blizzard’s legal prospects, nor for the public optics of the EEOC.

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