Gaming company Activision Blizzard lost another high-ranking employee today as it battles a series of lawsuits over workplace culture and unfair labor practices including pay, harassment and discrimination issues.
On Tuesday, the Santa Monica-based gaming publisher’s chief legal officer of Blizzard Entertainment Claire Hart quit. This follows the departures of J. Allen Brack, Blizzard’s president, and Jesse Meschuk, head of global human resources, in August. Additionally, three of its top designers behind “Diablo 4,” “World of Warcraft” and “Overwatch” also left last month. The company did not provide details on whether these staffers left at will.
The parent company has been facing investigations by the Security and Exchange Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the past four months. CEO Bobby Kotick (pictured above) in his statement said they are cooperating with all investigations and “there is no place anywhere” in the company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.
Earlier this week the SEC launched in investigation into the company that included allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination. The agency has reportedly subpoenaed Kotick and several of its leaders for information regarding workplace harassment and gender pay issues, and whether its executives disclosed these allegations with investors and others.
In May 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission started investigation allegations over gender-based harassment. Additionally, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July sued the company for allegedly paying women less than their male colleagues and providing them with fewer opportunities for advancement.
There was also allegation that Activision ignored complaints of its female employees over sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in what has historically been a male-dominated environment. The company has said it would fight these charges and that these cases were false, resulting in some employees staging a walkout.
Activision is one of the largest U.S. gaming publishers, with some 10,000 employees and $8 billion revenue as of last year. Its console and mobile games together draw 400 million monthly gamers across 190 countries.