Activision Blizzard Has To Pay $35 Million In Workplace Misconduct Settlement

Activi­sion Bliz­zard has final­ly reached a set­tle­ment with the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion (SEC) that will see the gam­ing giant pay $35 mil­lion for work­place charges.

The SEC’s press release states Activi­sion Bliz­zard is pay­ing the set­tle­ment fee, but not admit­ting or deny­ing any wrong­do­ing. This is in regards to claims that it “failed to main­tain dis­clo­sure con­trols and pro­ce­dures to ensure that the com­pa­ny could assess whether its dis­clo­sures per­tain­ing to its work­force were adequate.”

Fur­ther­more, the $35 mil­lion also per­tains to charges that Activi­sion Bliz­zard “vio­lat­ed an SEC whistle­blow­er pro­tec­tion rule.”

The SEC said between 2018 and 2021, Activi­sion Bliz­zard “lacked con­trols and pro­ce­dures” in rela­tion to how it col­lect­ed and ana­lyzed com­plaints about work­place mis­con­duct among its divisions.

A a result, the com­pa­ny’s man­age­ment lacked suf­fi­cient infor­ma­tion to under­stand the vol­ume and sub­stance of employ­ee com­plaints about work­place mis­con­duct and did not assess whether any mate­r­i­al issues exist­ed that would have required pub­lic dis­clo­sure,” the SEC said. “Sep­a­rate­ly, the SEC’s order finds that, between 2016 and 2021, Activi­sion Bliz­zard exe­cut­ed sep­a­ra­tion agree­ments in the ordi­nary course of its busi­ness that vio­lat­ed a Com­mis­sion whistle­blow­er pro­tec­tion rule by requir­ing for­mer employ­ees to pro­vide notice to the com­pa­ny if they received a request for infor­ma­tion from the Com­mis­sion’s staff.”

Jason Burt, direc­tor for the SEC’s Den­ver office, said Activi­sion Bliz­zard’s actions left the com­pa­ny “with­out the means to deter­mine whether larg­er issues exist­ed and need­ed to be dis­closed to investors.” In regards to the whistle­blow­er com­plaints, Burt stat­ed this is  “not only bad cor­po­rate gov­er­nance, it is illegal.”

To be more spe­cif­ic, the SEC said Activi­sion Bliz­zard vio­lat­ed Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(a) and 21F-17(a). The SEC, again, stat­ed that Activi­sion Bliz­zard is not admit­ting or deny­ing the SEC’s charges, but sim­ply agree­ing to the set­tle­ment to end the case.

The SEC’s order says the set­tle­ment pay­ment per­tains to dis­clo­sure con­trols and Activi­sion Bliz­zard’s sep­a­ra­tion agreements.

I am a Platinum lover and an ex- Cod-aholic. I've been playing games since I was 5 years old and I refuse to quit, despite my mother's attempts to get me to. God of War and its successors are my all time favorite games.

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