Riot Games Settles Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit
"We felt it was the strongest statement we could make."
Riot Games has had a turbulent 12 months. In August of last year, Kotaku published a story alleging that the League of Legends developer has a toxic and sexist workplace environment. This was followed up earlier this year when five lawsuits were filed against the company from employees who state the studio has violated the California Equal Pay Act. Each of the five lawsuits cites in-house sexism influencing hiring practices and creating a "bro culture" within Riot Games. When the company responded by filing a forced arbitration against two of the cases, more than 150 employees staged a walkout in protest.
One of the lawsuits--a class action that alleged claims of gender discrimination in pay and promotion, sexual harassment, and retaliation against women working at Riot offices in California--has, in principle, been settled outside of court
"We realize that this is a path that many companies in our position may not have chosen," a Riot statement says, "but we felt it was the strongest statement we could make to Rioters, and prospective Rioters, that we're prepared to go over and above in order to move forward. Both sides believe that this proposed settlement, once finalized, is fair for all parties involved. In addition, we're hopeful that the settlement will allow us to continue our momentum (as described here and here) in making Riot a leader in inclusive workplaces."
Riot says it has been working to review and address the concerns that were raised in the lawsuits. "We will continue to strive to be a great company and one that cares about its employees and its players," the statements goes on to say. "After extensively reviewing these issues, we can confidently state that gender discrimination (in pay or promotion), sexual harassment, and retaliation are not systemic issues at Riot.
"But, what we also learned during this process was that some Rioters have had experiences that did not live up to our values or culture. In addition, we've encountered considerable fatigue among Rioters, who have been drained by constant engagement with the internal and external dialogues emerging from these lawsuits and recurring media cycles."
Finalizing the settlement is still in its early stages so details are sparse, but Riot has expressed a desire to be transparent with its communication. "We're continuing to work with the class plaintiffs and their counsel to finalize the details. Most importantly, we want to emphasize that any proposed settlement will be subject to the Court's oversight, and the Court will need to review and approve all details of any agreement. We want to be respectful of this process."
You can find the full joint press release from the plaintiff's counsel and Riot Games below:
Preliminary Settlement Agreement Reached in Lawsuit Filed by Women Against Riot Games
August 22, 2019 - LOS ANGELES - All parties have reached an agreement in principle today to resolve the class action case against Riot Games.
"This is a very strong settlement agreement that provides meaningful and fair value to class members for their experiences at Riot Games," said Ryan Saba of Rosen Saba, LLP, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. "This is a clear indication that Riot is dedicated to making progress in evolving its culture and employment practices. A number of significant changes to the corporate culture have been made, including increased transparency and industry-leading diversity and inclusion programs. The many Riot employees who spoke up, including the plaintiffs, significantly helped to change the culture at Riot."
The parties will now move toward seeking court approval of the proposed settlement, and we will provide additional details about its terms when that filing takes place.
"We are grateful for every Rioter who has come forward with their concerns and believe this resolution is fair for everyone involved," said Nicolo Laurent, CEO of Riot Games. "With this agreement, we are honoring our commitment to find the best and most expeditious way for all Rioters, and Riot, to move forward and heal. Over the past year, we've made substantial progress toward evolving our culture and will continue to pursue this work as we strive to be the most inclusive company in gaming."