The California department of fair employment & housing (DFEH) has expanded its anti-discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, now including temporary workers alongside full-time female employees and claiming that the company's HR department "shredded" documents despite the company's legal obligation to retain them during the investigatory period.
First reported by Axios, the DFEH also claims that Activision Blizzard has made current employees sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), requiring them to speak to the company first before speaking to the DFEH in their investigation.
These new claims could further tarnish Activision Blizzard's reputation which has taken a battering since the lawsuit first came to light, alleging as it did a culture of "constant sexual harassment", compounded later when former and current employees spoke of their own experiences and lambasted the company for an initial response that ultimately prompted an apology.
Current employees staged a walkout over the issue and the newest allegations have prompted more revulsion from those working at the company with calls to unionize.
"HR destroyed the documents related to the lawsuit…which means the fine for doing so was less than the penalty for what it was," tweeted Test Analyst, Jessica "Rizzo" Gonzalez on hearing the news. "Shame on HR. Time to unionize. I will be screaming this from the hilltops now. Feels so fucking gross working here right now."
HR destroyed the documents related to the lawsuit…which means the fine for doing so was less than the penalty for what it was. Shame on HR. Time to unionize. I will be screaming this from the hilltops now. 💙 feels so fucking gross working here right now.— Jessica Gonzalez 💙 #ABetterABK 💙 (@BlizzJess) August 24, 2021
Activision Blizzard has responded to the new claims and expanded suit, saying in a statement to Axios:
"With regards to claims that we have destroyed information by shredding documents, those claims are not true. We took appropriate steps to preserve information relevant to the DFEH investigation," the spokesperson added.
"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."
More than 3,100 current and former employees have signed an open letter expressing their support for the DFEH lawsuit.