Activision Blizzard shareholders approve plan for public report on sexual harassment

by mcdix

Activision Blizzard shareholders Tuesday approved a plan for the company to release an annual public report on how it handles sexual harassment and gender discrimination disputes and how it works to prevent these incidents. In February, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli initially proposed. Under the proposal, Activision Blizzard must disclose the following information each year:

The number and the total amount of disputes resolved by the studio relating to sexual harassment and abuse, and discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, service member status, gender identification, or sexual orientation — over the last three years

What steps is Activision Blizzard taking to reduce the average time to resolve these incidents internally and legally?

The studio faces many ongoing complaints regarding sexual abuse, harassment, and discrimination, both internally and in court. Wage and hours worked data, as required by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The DFEH sued Activision Blizzard in July 2020, alleging that executives there fostered a culture of rampant sexual harassment and systematic gender discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the studio over these allegations in 2020. Activision Blizzard settled with the federal agency in March, agreeing to set up an $18 million fund for plaintiffs. Activists, employees, and the DFEH have argued that this settlement is too low, and former employee Jessica Gonzalez appealed the ruling in May. The DFEH estimates 2,500 injured workers earn more than $930 million in damages.

sexual harassment

“For years, there have been alarming news reports of rampant sexual abuse, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against female employees,” a statement supporting the proposal to shareholders reads. As an investor-directed document, it outlines how systematic discrimination and sexual abuse could harm the studio’s revenue streams and its ability to retain employees, saying, “A report like the one requested would help shareholders assess whether the company is improving its human resources management, whether its actions are consistent with the company’s public statements and whether it remains a sustainable investment.”

While Activision Blizzard faces multiple lawsuits and investigations related to sexism, harassment, and discrimination, some employees at the studio are trying to unionize with the help of the Communications Workers of America. This would be the first union in a major video game studio and could shift the industry’s long-standing crunch-centric cycle. At Tuesday’s annual meeting, Activision Blizzard shareholders denied a proposal that would have added an employee representative to the board, with only 5 percent voting in favor, according to The Washington Post.

Microsoft has pledged to respect workers’ rights to join unions. At the same time, Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard for a deal worth nearly $69 billion. And all the while, Activision Blizzard is still making games. Our editorial team, independent of our parent company, has selected all products recommended by Engadget. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. We may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through one of these links.

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