Former Activision Blizzard employee Jessica Gonzalez is appealing the publisher’s recent $18 million settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). On Monday, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) announced that Gonzalez is challenging the settlement because it prevents employees who file as plaintiffs from suing Activision Blizzard in the future.
When the settlement was first approved by a federal judge in late March, many Activision Blizzard employees criticized it for not going far enough to hold the company accountable. The fact that the settlement prevents plaintiffs from participating in future lawsuits against Activision Blizzard was considered particularly problematic because it would render those individuals ineligible to participate in the California sexual harassment publisher’s lawsuit.
Employees have also argued that $18 million is far too little to compensate anyone who would file a claim against the company. The sum means that there is only enough money for the EEOC to reward 60 employees with the maximum settlement allowed.
“Today’s appeal continues CWA and DFEH’s efforts to disrupt and delay an $18 million settlement in favor of eligible employees. This is the tenth attempt,” said an Activision Blizzard spokesperson. . “It is unfortunate that DFEH – both directly and through those who work with it – continues the campaign of misinformation and inaccurate claims.”
“The court allowed Activision and the EEOC to exclude the affected employees and others with an interest in holding the company accountable. Eligible employees would not have to give up their rights to other remedies if they accept the settlement,” Gonzalez said.
There is a precedent for employees getting better compensation in these kinds of situations. Following a 2018 class-action lawsuit for alleged sexual harassment and discrimination at the studio, Riot Games was ordered to pay $10 million to eligible employees. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing later blocked that settlement, and the amount was eventually increased to $100 million.
Update 5:09 PM ET: Added commentary from Activision Blizzard.
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