A former lawyer with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has accused Governor Gavin Newsom of interfering with the agency’s against Activision Blizzard. According to an email seen by , DFEH assistant chief counsel Melanie Proctor said Tuesday she was resigning her position to protest the abrupt firing of Janette Wipper, the watchdog’s chief counsel.
“The Office of the Governor repeatedly demanded advance notice of litigation strategy and of next steps in the litigation,” Proctor writes in her resignation. “As we continued to win in state court, this interference increased, mimicking the interests of Activision’s counsel.” Proctor alleges Wipper was “abruptly terminated” for attempting to protect the DFEH’s independence. According to the email, the former chief counsel is considering “all avenues of legal recourse,” including a claim under California’s Whistleblower Protection Act.
We’ve reached out to the Office of Governor Newsom for comment.
News of the resignation comes little more than two weeks after a federal judge ordered Activision Blizzard to to settle a US Equal Opportunity Commission lawsuit accusing the publisher of fostering a discriminatory workplace. Before that complaint was filed, California’s fair employment agency its own lawsuit against Activision Blizzard following a two-year investigation into sexual harassment allegations at the publisher. The DFEH case is currently scheduled to go to trial in February 2023, but the allegations put forward by Proctor are likely to raise questions about the ultimate fate of the lawsuit.
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