Activision shareholders defy board to vote for misconduct report

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Activision Blizzard shareholders have voted for the company to create an annual report on misconduct, despite Activision Blizzard’s board of directors recommending shareholders vote against the proposal.

The misconduct report (via Axios) was proposed by The New York State Retirement Fund, and 67.4 per cent of Activision Blizzard shareholders have voted to approve the measure.

Back in May, Activision Blizard urged shareholders to vote against the proposal, claiming it would take “significant time and expense” to compile and would not be “the best measures of how the company is responding to employee concerns”. However, shareholders have defied the board’s recommendation to vote in favour of the report.

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This means that Activision Blizzard must become more transparent in its current and past handling of misconduct allegations within the company. The yearly report must detail how many disputes relating to sexual abuse, discrimination or harassment the company has settled in the last three years, and how much Activision has spent on this.

The report will also include the total number of sexual abuse, discrimination or harassment complaints Activision is still working to resolve, as well as the progress made to reduce the average length of time it takes for the company to resolve these complaints (either internally or through litigation).

Bobby Kotick, President and CEO, Activision Blizzard in 2014 CREDIT: Javier Rojas

Elsewhere on the agenda, shareholders voted against a proposal which would have added an employee – voted for by non-management workers – to the board of directors to represent Activision Blizzard employees.

While the proposal did not pass, it did meet the five per cent of votes needed to allow it to be resubmitted in future proposals. Becka Aigne, the Activision employee and member of the Game Worker Alliance who submitted the proposal, shared that “Activision Blizzard depends on the contributions of its employees to make great games, yet our corporate leadership has allowed a culture of harassment and disrespect to go unchecked.”

“Employee participation in the governance of the company would greatly improve communication between senior leadership and rank and file employees […] it would demonstrate to all of us working at Activision-Blizzard that the company values and wants to hear from its workers within the top levels of leadership. It would send a signal that our voices matter.”

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Last week, Activision Blizzard’s own misconduct investigation found “no widespread harassment” at the company, despite a year filled with high-profile lawsuits and harassment allegations.