SEC Launches Probe Of Discrimination Allegations At Activision: What You Need To Know

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has begun an investigation of videogame producer Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI regarding how the Santa Monica, California-headquartered company has handled employee complaints of alleged sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination.

What Happened: The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed "people familiar with the investigation" and documents that have not been made available to the public, reported the SEC has subpoenaed company executives including CEO Bobby Kotick and is requesting corporate documents including minutes from all board meetings since 2019, personnel files of six former employees and the separation agreements involving staffers who left Activision this year.

Activision spokeswoman Helaine Klasky confirmed the SEC’s probe is focused on “the company’s disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues,” adding the “company is cooperating with the SEC.”

Related Link: Activision Announces New Co-Leaders Of Blizzard As J. Allen Brack Steps Down

Why It Happened: Activision — whose product line includes the Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush franchises — has been the subject of state and federal allegations related to a reportedly hostile workplace. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company in late July, alleging it paid women less than their male counterparts and provided them with fewer career advancement opportunities, while the Communications Workers of America filed charges earlier this month with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Activision of worker intimidation designed to prevent employees from union organizing.

On July 28, employees at the company’s Irvine, California-based campus staged a four-hour walkout, with protest organizers complaining that “our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.”

ATVI Price Action: Activision shares lost 4.25% Monday, closing at $76.18.

Photo: Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, by Thomas Hawk/Flickr Creative Commons.

Posted In: GovernmentNewsSECBobby KotickHarassmentSecurities and Exchange CommissionU.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionworkplace discrimination