Activision Blizzard to pay $35 million for breaking SEC whistleblower rule

The SEC has announced Activision Blizzard will pay the organization a $35 million settlement.


Activision Blizzard’s mistreatment of its workers over the years has led to a number of issues for the video game publisher. Already the subject of multiple lawsuits and legal investigations, Acti-Blizz has found itself in some incredibly hot water with the United States government. The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that Activision Blizzard will pay a hefty $35 million settlement for failing to maintain disclosure controls regarding workplace misconduct complaints and violating the SEC’s whistleblower rule.

The SEC shared a press release to its website today to announce the Activision Blizzard settlement. The video game publisher will pay $35 million to the government organization for a couple of major infractions. First, Activision Blizzard failed to properly “collect and analyze employee complaints of workplace misconduct” between the years 2018 and 2021 as a result of a lack of procedure to do so. The SEC states that the company was well aware that it lacked the ability to “attract, retain, and motivate employees.”

Several characters from Activision Blizzard IP next to the company logo.

Source: Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard also violated the SEC’s whistleblower rule. Between 2016 and 2021, separation agreements between the publisher and ex-employees required the former workers to provide notice to Activision Blizzard if they were given a request for information from members of the SEC staff.

“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.”

As Activision Blizzard reaches a $35 million settlement with the SEC, Microsoft is still fighting in court to complete its $68.7 billion acquisition of the company.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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