Activision Calls Proposal to Interview At Least One Diverse Candidate Per Job “Unworkable”

A new report has found that Activision Blizzard is resisting the adoption of a hiring practice that would require the company to interview at least one candidate who is a qualified woman or minority candidate. Activision Blizzard, via its attorneys have called this practice “unworkable.”

In a new report from VICE, the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in the United States, submitted a shareholder proposal to Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts (EA) requesting it adopt a hiring policy that would require each company to include women and people of color in its initial pool of potential candidates.

The AFL-CIO is a shareholder in both Activision Blizzard and EA, and the letter request was sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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The proposal is modeled after the Rooney Rule in the National Football League. Adopted in 2003, the rule required NFL teams to interview at least one non-white candidate for a coaching job. VICE reports that the rule was later expanded to include women and other marginalized candidates.

Activision, a company of over 9,000 employees¬†and the makers of some of the biggest games like Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, has reportedly chafed at this proposal. It has taken measures to exempt itself by claiming that these guidelines are excluded from the SEC’s guidelines for shareholder proposals.

Furthermore, a letter by Activision, obtained by Motherboard claims, “While the Company has implemented a Rooney Rule policy as envisioned [for director and CEO nominees], implementing a policy that would extend such an approach to all hiring decisions amounts to an unworkable encroachment on the Company’s ability to run its business and compete for talent in a highly competitive, fast-moving market.”

Activision claims that this proposal violates SEC guidance as a way for a shareholder to “micromanage” the company. In a statement to VICE, EA says it will “consider the stockholder proposal” with its Board of Directors.

It should be noted that these proposals are legally non-binding. What they end up doing, however, is to highlight issues and pave a way forward for a company to address them. But Activision appears to get ahead of having these discussions altogether.

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Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN. You can reach him on Twitter @LawofTD.

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