Bobby Kotick, CEO of publisher Activision Blizzard, has voluntarily reduced his income until the company has met new self-imposed targets in response to a raft of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations.
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In an open letter to employees, Kotick says he has asked Activision Blizzard’s Board of Directors to reduce his pay to “the lowest amount California law will allow” until the company has “achieved […] transformational gender-related goals and other commitments”.
Kotick says this means $62,500 (£45,500) for this year. Kotick adds, “To be clear, this is a reduction in my overall compensation, not just my salary. I am asking not to receive any bonuses or be granted any equity during this time”.
The letter also outlines a new five-point plan to improve Activision Blizzard’s internal standards and processes regarding harassment, employee diversity, and pay equality. These are:
- “A new zero-tolerance harassment policy company-wide”, which includes contract termination “in most cases of harassment based on any legally protected category”. This also aims to protect vulnerable employees from retribution for complaints raised, saying “Any Activision Blizzard employee found through our new investigative processes and resources to have retaliated against anyone for making a compliance complaint will be terminated immediately.”
- A commitment to “increase the percentage of women and non-binary people in our workforce by 50 per cent” – plus the investment of $250million (£182million) to “accelerate opportunities for diverse talent”. Kotick says this includes building an ABK (Activision Blizzard King) Academy to partner with colleges and technical schools serving under-represented communities, with the aim of creating pathways into game development.
- “Waiving required arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims”, meaning employees will not be obligated to engage in dispute resolution outside of a legal setting if they choose not to.
- Continuing “to increase visibility on pay equity”, and;
- To “provide regular progress updates” on all of the above, with quarterly reports monitoring progress of “business units, franchise teams, and functional leaders with respect to workplace initiatives”.
While the internal measures will likely be welcomed, Activision Blizzard has also filed a motion to halt proceedings in the lawsuit brought against it in July by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
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