Activision-Blizzard blames Microsoft merger for violating California’s diversity law

Activision-Blizzard has accused the Microsoft merger of failing to comply with a California workplace diversity law and appointing a third woman to the board. The company has had to do this since 2019, and the new requirements will come into force at the end of 2021.

Activision-Blizzard’s nearly $70 billion merger with Microsoft has dominated gaming headlines since it was announced in January 2022.

Microsoft promised The acquisition would allow the company to “make games safe, inclusive and accessible to all” after multiple lawsuits alleging workplace harassment and discrimination were filed against Activision-Blizzard.

However acc the company’s 2021 annual report Filed in late February, Activision-Blizzard failed to comply with a California law requiring it to add a third woman to its board of directors.

Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard

Activision-Blizzard has accused Microsoft of missing a deadline to appoint a new director as required by California law.

The company code and its “Women on Boards” requirement Reported companies with a California-based executive office required a minimum of three women when the total number of directors was six or more.

The regulation came into force at the beginning of 2019 and grants companies a three-year notice period.

Activision-Blizzard, at time of publication, has 10 board members. Only two of them – Reveta Bowers and Dawn Ostroff – are women. Elaine Wynn was previously a director on the board but left the company in 2020 and was replaced by Ostroff.

The company blamed its upcoming merger with Microsoft for the non-compliance.

“Under current California law, we were required to add another woman to our board of directors by the end of 2021. To meet this requirement and enhance the diversity of our board of directors, the company engaged a recruitment consultancy and began interviewing potential additional female directors in 2021,” it said.

“However, because the Company’s current directors would no longer serve on our board of directors upon the completion of our proposed transaction with Microsoft, we were unable to complete the process in 2021. We will continue our efforts to appoint a new director.”

Bobby Kotick Blizzard boss

Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick came under fire in 2021 for alleged workplace negligence.

The company claims it has been “working to address concerns that have been raised regarding our workplace and related matters.” This includes establishing an independent committee to oversee the implementation of new workplace policies and continuing to investigate harassment and discrimination following the lawsuit.

Activision-Blizzard also claimed “since 2016, the number of women in our leadership roles in game development has more than doubled,” with 24% of their employees identifying as women or non-binary. The company is targeting a 50% increase over the next five years.

It’s unclear whether Activision-Blizzard will face sanctions for violating the Corporations Code. Activision-Blizzard blames Microsoft merger for violating California’s diversity law

Emma Bowman

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