Expanding investigation into Activision harassment cases

Expanding investigation into Activision harassment cases

Expanding investigation into Activision harassment cases

Investigations into US video game giant Activision Blizzard for charges of discrimination and harassment are being extended, according to court documents and media reports.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) launched a lawsuit against Activision last summer, alleging the company condones a culture of sexual harassment, a toxic work environment and inequality.

Court documents seen by AFP on Thursday show that the DFEH asked in late January for access to any complaints or investigations against 19 Activision employees, including CEO Bobby Kotick.

The agency also requested access to all police records relating to complaints filed at Activision’s BlizzCon conventions from 2015 to 2019, as well as at the offices of its Blizzard subsidiary, in the city of Irvine, and in ‘Activision in Santa Monica since June 20, 2021.

The new demands come weeks after Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard, maker of Call of Duty and Candy Crush, for $68.7 billion (about Rs. 5,12,510 crore).

The documents don’t directly name the people the DFEH requested information about, but they do indicate that the Activision CEO and former Blizzard Entertainment CEO are on the list.

The DFEH requests serve “no legitimate purpose,” an Activision spokesperson said, noting that they contain “sensitive and confidential information without limits or relative scope.”

Instead, the spokesperson said, it’s “another questionable tactic in DFEH’s broader effort to derail” Activision’s settlement with a federal agency, the US Equal Employment Opportunity. Commission (EEOC).

This agency had negotiated with Activision to set up an $18 million (about Rs. 135 crore) compensation fund for victims of harassment.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US market agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has also expanded its own investigation into Activision. The investigation was launched in September to determine whether the company had adequately disclosed its harassment and discrimination complaints.

The SEC recently requested documents related to a significantly expanded list of current and former executives, going back further than the original request, the Journal reported.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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