Last September, the Wall Street Journal first broke the story: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was investigating Activision Blizzard Inc., relating to allegations of how the company had been handling allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The SEC was reportedly looking into allegations made against Activision, asking for documents relating to six women’s personnel files and separation agreements, board meeting minutes since 2019, and other documents relating to the allegations.
Even in a male-dominated industry such as computer game design, Activision had been known for a drunken “frat boy culture.” Supervisors were alleged to have made passes at women, even groping them at public events. Day-to-day, women were said to have been harassed. They were also alleged to be paid less than their male counterparts, as the men belittled them and took credit for their work.
Allegedly, if women complained to the Human Resources Department, the company purportedly took no actions against the offending employees, but they did retaliate against the women, laying them off, depriving them of promotions, and other punishment. And while senior leaders were not directly implicated in having participated in the actual malfeasance, there were complaints that they had failed to take action if and when they’d learned of the problems.
In California, a state employment agency filed suit against the company after an almost three-year-long investigation into Activision. That led to a shareholders’ derivative suit, an unfair labor suit filed by employees and a union, and a multimillion-dollar settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Blowing the Whistle on Corrupt Corporate Culture and Wall Street Misconduct
While the salaciousness of these allegations made for headline news, we can’t miss the larger message: This could be another signal that whistleblowing to the SEC may be a new effective way to address these incidents. Only by courageous women and men coming forward to discuss this misconduct can this culture be addressed.
If you are considering becoming a whistleblower on any topic, from harassment to insider training, contact experienced securities attorneys to review your case and help you decide on the best course of action. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing employees in FINRA arbitration and court for sexual harassment, wrongful termination and other misconduct. The attorneys at Silver Law Group have many years of experience in representing our clients in securities, employment and related issues. For a free, confidential consultation, email us or call today at (800) 975-4345.