- Activision Blizzard is complying with a subpoena issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding several former and current employees and executives as well as employment issues, the company confirmed in a Sept. 21 statement.
- The statement followed reports, including one account by The Wall Street Journal, that the SEC asked Activision Blizzard for documents including board meeting minutes, personnel files and separation agreements reached with staffers.
- The video game publisher said it was also engaged in discussions with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding an investigation "concerning certain employment practices," and it said it "expanded training, performance management, and anti-harassment resources."
The company now faces federal inquiries into its work environment following a legal challenge in July from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
After the suit precipitated an employee walkout in addition to consumer backlash, Activision Blizzard announced changes to its leadership team. Those moves included the dismissal of Caludine Naughton, the company's former chief people officer, who Activision Blizzard replaced with Disney executive Julie Hodges.
Per a filing with the SEC, Naughton and Activision Blizzard came to terms on a settlement agreement that includes a lump sum equal to Naughton's base salary, annual bonuses that Naughton would have received had her employment continued through July 2022 and an assortment of other payments including compensation for the cancellation of Naughton's shares of company stock.
"There is absolutely no place anywhere in our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in the statement. "While we continue to work in good faith with regulators to address and resolve past workplace issues, we also continue to move ahead with our own initiatives to ensure that we are the very best place to work. We remain committed to addressing all workplace issues in a forthright and prompt manner."
In addition to the California suit and series of federal inquiries, the company faces an unfair labor practice charge filed last week by the Communications Workers of America labor union, which alleged that Activision Blizzard used "coercive tactics to attempt to prevent its employees from exercising their rights to stand together and demand a more equitable, sustainable, and diverse workplace."
A group of Activision Blizzard employees did not immediately respond to an HR Dive request for comment on the Sept. 21 statement.