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Communications Workers of America union also objects to EEOC, Activision Blizzard settlement

Union concerned over lack of clarity around process, calls $18 million fund "woefully inadequate"

The Communications Workers of America have filed their own objection to a settlement between Activision Blizzard and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Last month, it was revealed the latter two parties had settled a lawsuit, detailing terms of this settlement in a Consent Decree that was submitted to the court.

Chief aspects of the agreement include Activision Blizzard's promise of a $18 million fund to compensate "eligible claimants," as approved by the EEOC, as well as the hiring of an internal equal employment opportunity coordinator and a third-party consultant to ensure the publisher abides by the settlement.

But the CWA believes there are "a number of serious deficiencies" with the agreement and has requested the court hold a fairness hearing in which this might be addressed.

In a letter attached to its filing, the union detailed 31 points of concern, including request for various documents and clarifications not released alongside news of the settlement. For example, it requests more explanation as to how the EEOC determines who counts as an "eligible claimant" and asks why this settlement was not made in coordination with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which has also filed a lawsuit against the publisher.

Within its complaint, the CWA noted that Activision Blizzard employees -- a "large number" of which are in contact with the union around these legal disputes -- were not consulted prior to the settlement being agreed upon.

The organisation also described $18 million as "woefully inadequate," suggesting this would only provide maximum settlement for up to 60 workers. As of 2020, Activision Blizzard employed around 9,500 people.

"We are concerned about how the EEOC got to that number and how it believes that number will be fairly distributed," the CWA's legal counsel wrote.

Similar phrasing, "wholly inadequate," was also used to describe the offer of one hour with a private attorney for each claimant and a mandate of two hours training for HR employees.

The union is also concerned over the requirement for individuals who receive a settlement to sign a waver or some form of release. The CWA wants to ensure this "does not waive any other claims under federal or state law or other applicable law."

The CWA's objection follows just one week after the State of California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing took its own stance against the settlement.

The department, which filed its own lawsuit against Activision Blizzard back in July over violations of civil rights and equal pay laws, claimed the proposal around the $18 million fund would involve employees releasing the publisher from claims under California state law -- thus damaging its own case against Activision.

However, this objection has been undermined somewhat by a counter-argument from the EEOC, which revealed potential ethical violations due to the work two of the leading lawyers behind the DFEH suit previously did on the EEOC's own investigation.

The EEOC has called for the courts to deny the DFEH its intervention motion and bar the latter's attorneys from being involved with such proceedings.

For more information on this ongoing story, read our full summary of the Activision Blizzard lawsuits.

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James Batchelor avatar

James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was