SEC Fines Activision Blizzard $35 Million for Failing to Place Controls to Properly Handle Workplace Misconduct Complaints and Disclose Them

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Image: Activision Blizzard

The Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered Activision Blizzard to pay a $35 million fine for “Failing to Maintain Disclosure Controls Related to Complaints of Workplace Misconduct and Violating Whistleblower Protection Rule”. Activision Blizzard also settled charges with the SEC for violating the whistleblower rule due to executing agreements with former employees to give notice if they’d been contacted by the commission.

From the SEC:

“The SEC’s order finds that Activision Blizzard failed to implement necessary controls to collect and review employee complaints about workplace misconduct, which left it without the means to determine whether larger issues existed that needed to be disclosed to investors,” said Jason Burt, Director of the SEC’s Denver Regional Office. “Moreover, taking action to impede former employees from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation is not only bad corporate governance, it is illegal.”

The ruling comes despite a report in June 2022, from its Board and its external advisors, that an internal investigation found that the company did no wrong. Activision Blizzard has responded to the ruling with its own statement to Engadget.

“We are pleased to have amicably resolved this matter. As the order recognizes, we have enhanced our disclosure processes with regard to workplace reporting and updated our separation contract language,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Engadget in a statement. “We did so as part of our continuing commitment to operational excellence and transparency. Activision Blizzard is confident in its workplace disclosures.”

Trouble is far from over

Activision Blizzard still remains in a controversial state amid Microsoft’s attempt to purchase the company as multiple governments consider the legality of the purchase, and has even been sued by gamers over it. Activision Blizzard was also recently at the center of frustration from NetEase employees following its decision to end its contract with the company. These stories, and more, can be found here.

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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