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Activision Blizzard drops required arbitration, CEO to take pay cut

CEO Bobby Kotick will take a pay cut until the board determines it’s achieved its outlined goals

Today, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick outlined the company’s goals in moving forward, amid several investigations into its workplace culture.

In an email to employees that’s been shared on the Activision Blizzard site, Kotick addresses the EEOC’s investigation in particular. He calls their review a “catalyst” to sharpen focus on how Activision Blizzard can change, as he apologizes for the poor workplace practices that proliferated.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard earlier this year, alleging discrimination and a toxic workplace culture at the company. Other investigations have followed, and several notable employees have already departed the company.

“The guardrails weren’t in place everywhere to ensure that our values were being upheld,” said Kotick. “In some cases, people didn’t consistently feel comfortable reporting concerns, or their concerns weren’t always addressed promptly or properly. People were deeply let down and, for that, I am truly sorry.”

Kotick outlines five changes coming to Activision Blizzard:

  • A company-wide zero-tolerance harassment policy; this includes immediate termination of those found to have retaliated against anyone for compliance complaints, and termination under their zero-tolerance policy will include immediate forfeiture of future compensation.
  • An increase of women and non-binary workforce by 50%, with $250 million invested over the next decade in accelerating opportunities for diverse talent
  • Waiving required arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims
  • Increased visibility on pay equity
  • Regular progress updates, including a quarterly status report

Additionally, Kotick confirms he will be taking a pay cut down to minimum salary under California law, at $62,500. He clarifies this is a reduction in overall compensation, and he’s asked to not receive any bonuses or be granted equity during this period. His total compensation will be reduced until the Board of Directors has determined the goals and commitments outlined have been achieved.

Following the DFEH’s lawsuit, Activision Blizzard employees organized a walkout and formed a coalition called the ABK Workers Alliance. Following Kotick’s email, the ABK Workers Alliance issued a statement online, saying today was a “huge win.” They do, however, state that there is still more to be done in addressing all the demands they’ve laid out.

While today was a huge win for us, we remain vigilant and continue to push for other industry practices that need to change. We still stand firm by our demand that the investigation must be done by an unbiased third party, of which WilmerHale is not one.

— ABetterABK ? ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) October 28, 2021

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