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Activision lawyers dismiss diversity hiring proposals as 'unworkable'

Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard is resisting calls to diversify its hiring practices.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

January 28, 2021

2 Min Read

Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard is resisting calls to diversify its hiring practices. 

VICE is reporting that Activision lawyers have pushed back against a shareholder proposal asking it to implement a 'Rooney Rule' in a bid to foster more diversity, calling the proposal "unworkable."

The 'Diverse Candidate Search Policy' proposal, submitted by labor federation AFL-CIO, would require Activision to interview a diverse range of candidates, including women and people of color, for all open positions. Although it wouldn't dictate who the company could hire, it would ensure people from underrepresented backgrounds are added to that initial pool of potential hires.

"The purpose of the requested Diverse Candidate Search Policy is to assure that the Company’s recruitment pools for external hires are adequately diverse," explained the AFL-CIO. "A diverse workforce at all levels of a company can enhance long-term company performance."

In a letter obtained by VICE, however, Activision's attorneys said the policy would amount to "an unworkable encroachment on the Company’s ability to run its business and compete for talent in a highly competitive, fast-moving market."

They also argued that the proposal would violate SEC guidance by micromanaging Activision's hiring process, leaving "no room for the Company’s management or Board of Directors to exercise discretion in how new hire decisions are structured."

Since VICE published its report, Activision has sought to clarify those remarks in a statement sent to IGN. The publisher claims its attorney's statements have been "mischaracterized" by VICE, and that its "hiring practices are rooted in ensuring diversity for all roles."

"Activision Blizzard is committed to inclusive hiring practices and to creating a diverse workforce; it is essential to our mission," it told IGN. "Vice completely mischaracterized the SEC filing made by our outside attorneys. In fact, our hiring practices are rooted in ensuring diversity for all roles. 

"We engage in this aggressively and successfully. Our objection was rooted in the fact that the AFL-CIO proposal failed to adequately consider how to apply these practices in all of the countries we operate in."

You can read VICE's report in full right here, and head on over to IGN to hear Activision's response.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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