SEC opens investigation into Activision Blizzard's workplace practices

The agency subpoenaed the company for documents related to its workplace practices.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened a “wide-ranging” investigation into Activision Blizzard, per The Wall Street Journal. The outlet reports the SEC recently subpoenaed the company and several executives, including CEO Bobby Kotick. The agency has asked the publisher to share a variety of documents, including correspondence Kotick wrote related to complaints of sexual harassment tied to Activision employees and contractors.

Helaine Klasky, a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard, told The Journal the SEC’s investigation involves disclosures the company made regarding “employment matters and related issues.” The agency reportedly hopes to find out whether Activision properly disclosed those problems, as well as whether those disclosures should have been shared earlier.

An SEC investigation adds significantly more regulatory pressure on Activision Blizzard. In July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued the company, accusing its executives of fostering a “frat boy” workplace culture. According to the initial complaint, only 20 percent of all employees at Activision’s Blizzard Entertainment unit are women, and they’re consistently paid less and overlooked for promotions. One month later, DFEH expanded the scope of the lawsuit to include both workers and employees. It also accused the company of using non-disclosure agreements to interfere with its ability to address the workplace violations that had happened at the studio.