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Activision Blizzard Advises Shareholders Not To Approve Sexual Harassment Report

Activision Blizzard has advised its shareholders on which proposals to vote for and against in their upcoming shareholders meeting on the 21st of June, including approving executive compensation and voting against the proposal to initiate a report on what the company has done to rectify sexual harassment within the company.

Activision Blizzard has been slammed with countless sexual harassment lawsuits in the past few years, which one was approved ordering Blizzard to pay out $18 million to the victims. The upcoming shareholders meeting will look at five proposals to vote for or against listed below, where Blizzard has advised its shareholders on what to vote for and against.

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  • Election of Directors (Approve)
  • Executive Compensation (Approve)
  • Ratification of Company’s Public Accounting Firm (Approve)
  • Nomination of Employee Representative Director (Vote Against)
  • Report on Company’s efforts to Prevent Abuse Harassment, and Discrimination (Vote Against)

Essentially Activision Blizzard is advising its shareholders to vote in favour of proposed director roles in the company as well as their compensation – which will no doubt be exorbitant – as well as voting against appointing an employee representative director.

Alarmingly the company has also stated that the shareholders should vote against generating a report on the efforts of Activision Blizzard to prevent abuse, harassment, and discrimination. The proposal was submitted by the New York State Common Retirement Fund which currently holds $121 million in shares – a little over 1.5 million – in which they ask that the developer creates an annual report “describing and quantifying the effectiveness and outcomes of company efforts to prevent abuse, harassment, and discrimination against protected classes of employees”.

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The report should include the following factors as well:

  • total number and aggregate dollar amount of disputes settled by Activision Blizzard related to sexual abuse, harassment, or discrimination
  • reducing the average length of time it takes to resolve complaints (either internally or through litigation)
  • total number of pending sexual abuse, harassment, or discrimination complaints the company has to resolve (either internally or through litigation)
  • consolidated data on pay and hours worked

Though Activision Blizzard believes that this will be a “waste of resources” and is advising its shareholders vote against this proposal.

“First, the Board believes that, rather than diverting energy and resources toward creating yet another report, we should continue to directly respond to employee concerns. Focusing all our attention on these concerns is the best way quickly and effectively to create genuine change in our workplace.

Second, the proposed report itself, even if completed after significant time and expense, would create a set of metrics that are simply not the best measures of how the Company is responding to employee concerns.

The Board is committed to measuring the speed and effectiveness of our changes accurately, not based on metrics that are not precisely tailored to our Company’s situation.

As such, the Company is of the view that continuing to focus its efforts on responding directly to employee concerns and continuing to implement workplace improvements is the best path forward.”

Activision Blizzard also claims that “the proposal is premised, in part, on an unsupported and, we believe, inaccurate and substantially overstated assessment of hypothetical liability calculated by an attorney in a filing made on behalf of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing”.

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Activision Blizzard board members further stated that even if the shareholders were to vote in favour of setting up the annual report the Company [Actvitision Blizzard] would not immediately commit to generating the report regardless.

“While our Board believes that the views of the Company’s shareholders are of the utmost importance and will carefully consider the outcome of the vote expressed by our shareholders when making future disclosure decisions, the vote will not be binding upon them.

Our Board ultimately has a duty to act in what it believes to be the best interests of the Company and all its shareholders.”

Activision Blizzard is set to be bought by Microsoft for $68.7 billion which shareholders are immensely in favour of despite the immense criticism from the gaming industry on Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

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Source: Axios

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