Today, the Wall Street Journal has reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened its own investigation into Activision Blizzard and its response involving the sexual misconduct and workplace harassment allegations that the state of California sued the company for earlier this year. The SEC has issued a subpoena against the company, the CEO, and several other senior executives. The SEC is requesting a variety of documents from the publisher, including CEO Bobby Kotick’s communications with other high-level executives about the allegations. They are also looking for separation agreements with employees who left this year, personnel files for six former employees, and board meeting minutes that go back two years.
An Activision Blizzard representative said, “We have made and are making a number of important changes to improve our policies and procedures to ensure that there is no place anywhere in our company for discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment of any kind.”
Another issues that the SEC is looking into is how Activision Blizzard handled how they told the investors about the investigation. Investors believed they should have been informed earlier and filed a lawsuit against the publisher last month. They said that Activision Blizzard “made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose” a number of relevant facts about the business regarding the DFEH suit.
When the DFEH suit was filed, Activision Blizzard said that it had been “extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation” and called the complaint inaccurate, distorted, rushed, and “in many cases false.” Later, the DFEH lawsuit was expanded and Activision Blizzard was accused of shredding documents that interfered with the two-year investigation.
Recently, Activision Blizzard has had another charge filed against them. The Communications of Workers of America filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the company of using illegal union-busting tactics and intimidation which prevented employees from exercising their rights to stand together and demand a more equitable, sustainable, and diverse workplace.