SEC, EEOC Investigating Activision Blizzard Over Sexual Harassment Allegations, CEO Subpoenaed

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has been subpoenaed by the SEC.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has been subpoenaed by the SEC. / Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Both the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have opened investigations into Activision Blizzard over its handling of allegations of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination, the company confirmed Monday.

The SEC investigation has opened with a subpoena of the company and several current and former employees, including CEO Bobby Kotick.

"The Company is actively engaged in continued discussions with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and has cooperated with the EEOC's investigation concerning certain employment practices," Activision wrote in a press release.

"It also confirmed that it is complying with a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoena issued to the Company and several current and former employees and executives regarding disclosures on employment matters and related issues. The Company is confident in its prior disclosures and is cooperating with the SEC's investigation."

These developments arrive in the wake of a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit accusing Activision Blizzard and its subsidiaries of fostering workplaces replete with sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination.

The SEC investigation aims to determine whether Activision Blizzard should have told its shareholders more quickly about the DFEH lawsuit. Meanwhile, the EEOC investigation will determine whether, and how much, victims of harassment at the company will stand to receive in financial compensation.

Furthermore, Activision Blizzard's chief legal officer, Claire Hart, announced her departure from the company Monday.

"The past three years have been full of unexpected twists and turns, but I feel honored to have worked with and met so many great people at Blizzard and across the Activision Blizzard businesses," Hart wrote on her LinkedIn page.

A coalition of Activision Blizzard employees partnered with the Communications Workers of America to file an unfair labor practice suit against the company with the National Labor Relations Board last week, claiming it had used illegal tactics to prevent unionization, as the fallout from the DFEH lawsuit continues to grow.