Activision Blizzard is under fire once again for failure to maintain their disclosure controls in relation to complaints about workplace misconduct. More so, they violated one of the SEC's rules pertaining to whistleblowers.
This latest document orders Activision-Blizzard to pay $35 million in order to settle the charges the SEC has filed against it. At the time of writing, it is said that the company has agreed to pay the allotted amount. This will also resolve the company's failure to follow whistleblower protection regulations. Though Acti-Blizz is agreeing to pay the settlements, they have yet to confirm or deny any of the accusations made by the SEC at this time, which is not necessarily shocking.
Between the years 2018 to 2021, it is said that Acti-Blizz was "aware that its ability to attract, retain, and motivate employees was a particularly important risk in its business, but it lacked controls and procedures among its separate business units to collect and analyze employee complaints of workplace misconduct." This means not only did the ones at the top of the company not have the ability to comprehend the number of complaints, but also the severity. Because of this issue, the complaints that may have been warranted to be disclosed to the public went unmentioned, and that is against the SEC's compliance regulations.
This also prompted the SEC to take note of the company's violation of the whistleblower protection rule, where the SEC says "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 agreement that Acti-Blizz allegedly set into place for those who were separated from the company between 2016 and 2021 states those who are no longer with the company must give notice if the SEC reached out to them for information. This means that they basically forced those who may have left the company or been fired due to issues they withstood in the workplace to remain silent.
While there is no statement that has been made by Activision-Blizzard at this time, one may be made in the future. If more information surfaces, we will be sure to cover it as soon as possible.