US SEC Sues Activision Blizzard Over Employee Treatment

The SEC has sued game maker Activision Blizzard. The SEC wants to know how the game company has handled allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace and unequal pay between men and women in recent years.

Activision Blizzard is in talks with the SEC to reach a settlement, potentially paying millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported. SEC has meanwhile requested documents and audio clips related to the case, such as from board meetings and contact between company executives on the subject.

The game maker, publisher of franchises such as Call of Duty and Candy Crush, has long been accused of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment in the workplace. The SEC also believes that Activision Blizzard pays men and women unequally for the same position.

It is unknown how long the investigation will take. A lawsuit is also pending from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, it came out over the summer. According to that department, there is a broad culture of sexually transgressive behavior and sexual harassment within the company, according to the prosecutors. After that charge came out, the director already left.

Male executives would try to pick on the women and joke about rape. Male employees would drink large amounts of alcohol, then harass women, and play games themselves during working hours while handing out work to female employees. Blizzard has been accused of a sick work culture for years, for example when it paid women in 2019 to track their pregnancy and fertility with an app.