The game producer is initiating its own investigation into California’s employment agency.
Activision Blizzard has filed a motion to temporarily halt proceedings in a lawsuit filed against it by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
According to PCGamer.com, the video game producer—responsible for World of Warcraft, and ever-popular franchises like Call of Duty—has said it wants more time to investigate a recent allegation against the agency.
The allegation, says PCGamer.com, could give Activision Blizzard an advantage when proceedings resume. It relates not to the content of the lawsuit—which asserts that Activision Blizzard’s workplace was awash in rampant sex discrimination—but the California state attorneys who filed it.
Kotaku notes that the Department of Fair Employment and Housing recently attempted to intervene in a settlement between Activision Blizzard and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
However, the E.E.O.C. responded by claiming inconsistencies and ethics violations relevant to at least two of the attorneys working for its California counterpart.
Now, Activision Blizzard has used the E.E.O.C.’s claim of ethics violations to try and bolster its own position. The company has said it would like to wait for the ethics violations to be investigated—and has asked the court to dismiss the California lawsuit against it if the allegations are found to be true.
Most of Activision Blizzard’s evidence, adds Kotaku, “resembles the oppositions made by the EEOC, including the claim that the DFEH’s entire investigation could be tainted by potential ethics violations.”
Outside of the E.E.O.C.-identified ethics issues, Activision Blizzard has further suggested that the lawsuit be dismissed because Fair Employment and Housing attorneys provided unsound advice in its own communications to Activision Blizzard employees.
The D.F.E.H., says Kotaku, purportedly warned Activision Blizzard employees against finding their own attorneys, urging them to work with the state instead.
Both parties—Activision Blizzard and the state—have also accused one another of destroying critical evidence.
One way or another, the company has signaled confidence that its arguments will prevail.
“We look forward to resolving the case with the DFEH fairly, in an appropriate court,” a company spokesperson told PCGamer.com.
PCGamer.com notes that Activision Blizzard remains under investigation by another federal agency, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is looking into the company’s response to the sexual harassment and gender discrimination accusations.
Earlier this week, Activision Blizzard published an internal email in which Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs Fran Townsend outlined possible ways to improve the company’s internal culture.
Townsend’s email observed that, since Activision Blizzard came under fire in summer, at least 20 employees have “exited” the company due to internal H.R. investigations, and that another 20 or more have “faced other types of disciplinary action.”