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Activision Blizzard Accused of Destroying Evidence in Lawsuit

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. / Drew Angerer/Getty Images

California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing has alleged that Activision Blizzard destroyed evidence related to the lawsuit filed against it for fostering a working environment of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

The DFEH's lawsuit created waves when it went public in late July, accusing the company of violating workplace fairness regulations regarding unequal pay, unequal opportunities and harassment against female employees. The amended complaint, filed Monday and reported on by Axios Gaming, expanded the suit to include "contingent or temporary workers," thereby encompassing the contract workers in its quality assurance and customer service representatives.

But the DFEH says Activision Blizzard has worked against the investigation by having employees sign nondisclosure agreements, requiring them to speak with the company before contacting the DFEH, and bringing law firm WilmerHale on to conduct its own investigation of misconduct. The DFEH says this "directly interferes" with its ability to "investigate, prosecute, and remedy workplace discrimination and harassment violations on behalf of employees and contingent or temporary workers."

The complaint goes on to allege that "documents related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel," which DFEH says is a violation of the company's legal obligation to retain them pending the investigation.

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson says the company has complied with the investigation and begun reforming its practices to make its workplace more safe and welcoming.

"With regard to claims that we have destroyed information by shredding documents, those claims are not true," said the spokesperson. "We took appropriate steps to preserve information relevant to the DFEH investigation."

The full amended complaint is available via The Verge.