Activision Blizzard fined $35 million by US Securities and Exchange Commission

The fine follows an investigation into how the gaming giant handled workplace misconduct

Activision Blizzard fined $35 million by US Securities and Exchange Commission

Activision Blizzard has been ordered to pay the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) $35 million in a settlement, following an investigation by the SEC into how it handles workplace misconduct, reports

The publisher has ten days to pay the fine, and must additionally stop “committing or causing” any violations of the exchange act.

The investigation began in September 2021, with the SEC investigating whether Activision Blizzard was appropriately informing investors of investigations into misconduct.

Following its investigation, the SEC is satisfied that the Call of Duty publisher was transparent with investors regarding any risk factors which “might materially affect its business.” However, the SEC also stated that Activision Blizzard didn’t have disclosure controls and procedures in place to analyse and collect workplace complaints, and as such these complaints weren’t taken into account by management when determining risk factors. As such, the SEC found that the company violated Rule 13a-15(a) of the Exchange Act.

A blizzard of controversy

Additionally, the SEC found that Activision Blizzard included a clause in many separation agreements between 2016 and 2022, requiring former staff members to let the company know if they were contacted by government agencies or labour boards. However, the SEC isn’t aware of any instances where former employees were prevented from speaking with government bodies regarding any potential violations.
Although the clause was removed from the company’s separation agreement template in 2022, the SEC found this to be in violation of Exchange Act Rule 21F-17(a).

“We are pleased to have amicably resolved this matter,” said a spokesperson for the company in a statement.

"As the order recognizes, we have enhanced our disclosure processes with regard to workplace reporting and updated our separation contract language. We did so as part of our continuing commitment to operational excellence and transparency. Activision Blizzard is confident in its workplace disclosures.”

We listed Activision Blizzard as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.


Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.