Riot Games agrees to $100 million settlement in sex discrimination lawsuit

The company said it will pay $80 million to class action members, including all current and former female full-time employees and temp agency contractors in California who worked from November 2014 to present. today.

An additional $20 million will be paid for attorneys’ fees and miscellaneous expenses, Riot Games said in a statement. Other stipulations of the deal include Riot funding a diversity and inclusion program, third-party work assignments, and an audit of workplace surveys.

“In an effort to foster ongoing transparency and accountability, Riot has also committed to having its internal reporting and pay equity processes monitored by a third party jointly approved by Riot and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for three years,” the company said. .

Final court approval of the settlement is pending, with a hearing scheduled in the coming months, the statement added.

“For years, women have been asking employers to end discrimination. We hope this settlement will mark a turning point in how allegations of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination are handled in California workplaces. and beyond,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. told CNN Business.

The lawsuit was filed in November 2018 by former employees Melanie McCracken and Jess Negrón, alleging gender discrimination as well as sexual harassment and misconduct at Riot Games. McCracken settled his claims separately from the class action.

The lawsuit was filed three months after gaming publication Kotaku published an investigation into an alleged culture of sexism at Riot Games. After this story was published, Riot published a blog post apologizing for the reported misconduct.

“We’re sorry that Riot hasn’t always been – or hasn’t been – the place we promised you. And we’re sorry that it took us so long to hear from you,” reads the post. the August 2018 post. “In the days, weeks, months, years to come, we’re going to make Riot a place we can all be proud of,”

Riot, creator of mega-popular games like League of Legends and Valorant, was originally set to settle with plaintiffs for $10 million in 2019, but two California employment agencies – the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the Division of Application of Labor Standards (DLSE) – intervened, arguing that the amount was not sufficient. A counter settlement was then argued on behalf of the more than 2,300 women who joined the lawsuit.

“Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what has become judgmental in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we hadn’t always lived up to our values. As a company, we stood at a crossroads; we could deny the shortcomings of our culture, or we could apologize, correct our course, and build a better Riot. We chose the latter,” Riot Games said. in a press release. “While we are proud of how far we have come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past. We hope this settlement will properly recognize those who have had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrate our desire to lead by example by bringing more accountability and equality to the gaming industry.”

“I’m so happy that we’ve taken this first step towards justice for the women of Riot Games,” Negron said. “I hope this case serves as an example for other studios and an inspiration for women in the industry in general. Women in gaming don’t have to suffer inequity and harassment in silence – change is possible.”

Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent and Riot Games are facing a separate lawsuit filed in January 2021 by Laurent’s former executive assistant, Sharon O’Donnell. The lawsuit alleges that O’Donnell was sexually harassed. The case is still pending, although a committee created by Riot’s board said in March that after reviewing the results of an investigation by an outside law firm, it found no no evidence to support the claims.

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