Activision Blizzard are reportedly looking to avoid a proposition from shareholders instructing them to interview at least one diverse candidate per position.
Shareholders put forward the proposition based on the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which stipulates similar diversity quotas for each hiring process. The NFL adopted this practice in 2003, and the AFL-CIO labour federation are now pushing for other companies to modernise their interviews.
In their request to Activision Blizzard, the AFL-CIO stated that “A diverse workforce at all levels of a company can enhance long-term company performance.”
When presented with the proposal, Activision Blizzard reportedly responded with a request to be exempt from the measures, despite previously appearing to support them. The publishers lawyers are reported by Vice to have called the policy “an unworkable encroachment on the Company’s ability to run its business and compete for talent in a highly competitive, fast-moving market.”
According to Vice, the lawyers claimed that the rule being implemented in this way would be micromanagement of a difficult situation and “leaves no room for the Company’s management or Board of Directors to exercise discretion in how new hire decisions are structured.”
According to GamesIndustry.biz, the company have since released a statement from President Daniel Alegre. Activision Blizzard said they were “committed to inclusive hiring practices and to creating a diverse workforce; it is essential to our mission.”
“Vice completely mischaracterized the SEC filing made by our outside attorneys,” the statement went on to say, “ 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.
Our games have uniquely influenced popular culture and have helped to increase tolerance and inclusion through their connectivity as well as the heroes we portray and our stories that celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion in so many powerful ways.
In order to ensure that our games stay true to our mission–to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment–we require that all candidates of all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, races and sexual orientations are considered for each and every open role. We aggressively recruit diverse candidates so the workforce provides the inspired creativity required to meet the expectations of our diverse 400 million players across 190 countries. We remain committed to increasing diversity at all levels throughout Activision Blizzard worldwide.”