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Activision Harassment Suit Loses California Agency’s Top Lawyer

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s chief attorney withdraws from agency’s lawsuit against video game giant Activision Blizzard Inc.according to a filing in state court Tuesday.

Janette Wipper, who was appointed to the agency by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. (D), sued Activision in July, alleging a “frat boy” culture of sexual harassment and discrimination against female employees.

The agency’s lawsuit followed a two-year investigation into Activision and included allegations of gender discrimination regarding pay, promotion and firing policies, among other violations of state law.

In March, Activision settled a similar series of claims filed under federal law by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, after the judge in that case dismissed attempts by the DFEH to block the settlement.

Wipper, who has led the state agency’s legal strategy since 2018, and Deputy Chief Counsel Melanie Proctor will no longer be involved in DFEH’s case against Activision, which is currently pending in Los Angeles Superior Court. , according to the notice of withdrawal.

The two attorneys previously led the agency’s lawsuit against another California video game maker, Tencent Holdings Ltd. subsidiary Riot Games Inc. That lawsuit, filed in 2018, also alleged gender discrimination and ended in a $100 million settlement in December 2021.

Prior to his appointment to DFEH, Wipper served as head of the Pacific region of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, based in San Francisco.

Under his leadership, the region gained a reputation for doggedly pursuing audits of federal contractor facilities and oversaw the initiation of an audit of google salary data that has sparked disputes over the data companies are required to hand over for review. A verification of Oracle America Inc. also led the agency to file a lawsuit accusing the tech company of pay discrimination based on race and gender.

The case is DFEH v Activision Blizzard Inc., Cal. Great. Ct., No. 21stcv26571, 4/5/22.