Judge Blocks Activision Blizzard Settlement Intervention, CAO Sends ‘Union Busting’ Email

Judge Blocks Activision Blizzard Settlement Intervention, CAO Sends ‘Union Busting’ Email
Image: Activision Blizzard / Kotaku

Another day, another Activision Blizzard scandal update. The ongoing harassment scandal now involves union busting allegations and, elsewhere, the company’s legal battles only grow more muddy and confusing.

The situation around Activision Blizzard — with its lawsuits, union-busting, and Bobby Kotick’s apparent refusals to any shoulder responsibility — is already tricky to follow.

But how about a little more? Just in case you somehow have no idea what’s going on, here’s a little refresher for you. More recently, we’ve seen a now-former employee of Activision Blizzard reportedly receive what they considered to be a ‘union busting’ email from Activision Blizzard Chief Administrative Officer Brian Bulatao. There are also a few updates on the $18 million settlement proposed by Activision Blizzard Inc.

The email

Brian Bulatao, chief administrative officer of Activision Blizzard and former Under Secretary of State for Management in the Trump Administration, recently penned a letter to employees on December 10th over plans to unionise. The email reportedly came following news that many staff were already joining the Communication Workers of America union. The email was made public by former Activision Blizzard employee Jessica Gonzalez, who departed the company in November.

Here’s a screenshot of the full email that was posted to Gonzalez’s account.

Screenshot: Jessica Gonzalez / Twitter.

News of the letter came the day after Activision Blizzard employees moved to unionise, and the launch of a strike fund to support employees taking action. Gonzalez and other Twitter users have referred to the email as ‘union busting’, noting that despite Bulatao’s assurances that the company ‘supports’ their workers right to unionise, demonising language around ‘consequences’ and the unionisation process is typical of union-busting threats.

We’ll keep you apprised of any developments there.

The settlement

Bloomberg Law is reporting a federal judge has denied California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) from intervening in a proposed $18 million settlement between Activision Blizzard Inc. and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The settlement is the culmination of a three-year investigation by the EEOC following complaints of harassment and discrimination.

So why does California’s DFEH want to intervene in the settlement? DFEH conducted an investigation of its own and sued Activision Blizzard in state court in July. It now believes the EEOC settlement would release Activision from state claims, which the federal agency lacks standing to prosecute. Should the EEOC’s settlement go through, DFEH is worried it let Activision Blizzard off the hook, making it that much harder to prosecute its case.

We’re sure there’s plenty more to come.

Comments

  • I love that supposed warning of “if you sign up you loose your right to negotiate on your own behalf”.. like these guys even had the power to actually negotiate anything to begin with..

    • Indeed.

      It’s a bit disingenuous as well given that Activision Blizzard isn’t exactly denying itself the benefits of a huge HR department and an army of on-call lawyers to assist with drafting its own take-it-or-leave-it standard employment contracts /sorry, “negotiations”.

      It’s not as if we’re talking about a self employed plumber thinking of taking on a second here.

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