According to The Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a “wide-ranging” investigation into Activision Blizzard. The agency has requested that the publisher provide a number of records, including correspondence sent by Kotick regarding sexual harassment allegations involving Activision employees and contractors.
The SEC is looking into Activision Blizzard’s disclosures on “employment matters and related issues,” according to Helaine Klasky, a representative for the firm. According to reports, the government wants to know if Activision correctly disclosed the issues and if such disclosures should have been made sooner.
According to the sources and documents, the Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Activision, which is known for its Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush franchises, as well as some of its senior officials, including longstanding Chief Executive Bobby Kotick.
Activision Blizzard is facing more regulatory scrutiny as a result of an SEC probe. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against the firm in July, accusing its leaders of fostering a “frat boy” culture in the workplace. Women make up just 20% of Activision’s Blizzard Entertainment employees, according to the first complaint, and they are regularly underpaid and ignored for promotions. DFEH broadened the scope of the case to encompass both workers and employees a month later. It also accused the firm of abusing non-disclosure agreements to obstruct its ability to investigate the studio’s workplace violations.
The DFEH sued the gaming giant after a two-year inquiry found that the firm discriminated against female employees, as originally reported by Bloomberg Law.
The defendant’s “frat boy” culture, according to DFEH, is a “breeding environment for harassment and discrimination against women.” According to the organisation, female employees are regularly confronted with inappropriate sexual comments. They must also put up with being touched during “cube crawls,” in which male employees drink alcohol while moving around numerous cubicles.
According to the DFEH, Activision Blizzard’s HR department received many accusations of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The defendant, on the other hand, is accused of failing to take “effective remedial measures in response” to them. Also, because human resource staff were known to be connected to the alleged harassers, people were reportedly discouraged from filing complaints.
The case was brought by the state agency to compel the video gaming behemoth to comply with California’s workplace regulations. It’s also looking for unpaid salaries and salary raises for female workers.
DFEH’s accusations, on the other hand, are denied by Activision Blizzard. The agency’s complaint, according to the business, “includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.”