Activision Blizzard issued $35m fine by SEC

Activision Blizzard issued $35m fine by SEC

The United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fined Activision Blizzard $35 million over charges that it failed to properly recognise workplace misconduct.

In a release on the government body's website, the organisation alleges that Activision Blizzard lacked the proper procedures to look into accusations of workplace misconduct. This meant that management simply did not know about issues from employees and did not look into whether these would require public disclosure.

This settlement was also related to charges that the Call of Duty maker violated SEC whistleblower protection rules by requiring former staff to let Activision Blizzard know whether they had been asked for information by the SEC.

This fine comes with the games giant also having to sign a cease and desist order, though it does not have to admit to or deny the SEC's findings. 

“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,” the director of the SEC's Denver office, Jason Burt, wrote.

“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.”

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson added: “We are pleased to have amicably resolved this matter. As the order recognises, 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.”

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.