Activision Blizzard shareholders Tuesday went against management’s recommendation and approved a proposal for a public report on the effectiveness of the video game publisher’s efforts to reduce abuse, discrimination and harassment against employees.
It’s the latest round of pressure against Activision Blizzard for alleged abuse of employees. In March, female employees claimed they had suffered harassment when a judge approved a settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after the agency found evidence of sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and related retaliation within the company.
Microsoft is currently acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.
Shareholders’ proposal called for a report detailing the number of cases and the amount the company has spent over the past three years settling claims of sexual abuse, discrimination or harassment against protected classes of employees. The proposal also said the report must include information on pending cases, as well as compensation data and the number of hours employees have worked. The Washington Post previously reported on the voting results.
“A report such as the one requested would help shareholders assess whether the company is improving its workforce management, whether its actions are consistent with the company’s public statements, and whether it remains a sustainable investment,” the New York State Common Retirement Fund wrote. his report. proposal. “Violations of civil rights in the workplace, including but not limited to sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination, can result in significant costs to businesses, including fines, penalties, legal fees, costs associated with absenteeism and reduced productivity.”
The Activision Blizzard board opposed the proposal, saying producing another report would sap resources. The board argued that metrics would emerge that weren’t the best way to track how the company was addressing employee concerns.
After proxy consultancy Glass Lewis expressed support for the initiative, citing news reports of extensive discrimination, harassment and retaliation against women, the company withdrew, saying such articles should not form the basis of a shareholder proposal. Institutional Shareholder Services also recommended the proposal, noting that the company does not appear to be keeping up with best practices around disclosing its diversity, equality and inclusion goals.
Last week, Activision Blizzard’s independent directors said the board and advisors found that “there is no evidence that Activision Blizzard senior executives have ever deliberately ignored or attempted to downplay the cases of gender harassment that occurred and were downplayed.” The Wall Street Journal had reported in November that the company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, had received information about harassment, but had not shared all relevant information with the board.
Top-tier money managers have become more supportive of environmental and social initiatives they’ve been given, gaining approval for proposals they previously voted down.
WATCH: Activision Says Executives Didn’t Ignore Harassment Incidents