Video game maker settles California discrimination case for $ 100 million

Riot Games, publisher of esports giant League of Legends, has agreed to pay $ 100 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging pay disparity, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

The lawsuit was filed in November 2018 after games website Kotaku published a story detailing a sexist culture at Los Angeles-based Riot Games that included women being ignored for promotions, unwanted sexual advances, and men. asking women about the legitimacy of their video game fandom. Other former employees then made similar claims.

The California Fair Employment Department said the lawsuit would remedy violations against more than 1,000 female employees and 1,300 contract workers. Riot also agreed to improve conditions and provide a fairer workplace for employees and candidates.

“I am so happy that we have taken this first step towards justice for women at Riot Games,” former employee and plaintiff Jes Negron said in a statement. “I hope this case serves as an example for other studios and an inspiration for women in the industry in general. Women in the game don’t have to endure iniquity and harassment in silence – change is possible. “

“League of Legends” is the world’s most popular esport and Riot Games operates its 12 professional international leagues. The publisher said in November that the player base for games in the “League of Legends” universe had exceeded 180 million players per month.

The complaint filed in November 2018 alleged violations of equal pay, gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation against female employees. A $ 10 million settlement was reached in December 2019, but two California agencies – the Fair Employment and Housing and Labor Standards Enforcement departments – objected, saying it had been rushed.

A new lawyer was hired and just over two years later Monday’s deal was announced by Riot and the plaintiffs’ new lawyers.

Riot agreed to hire a third-party expert to conduct an equity analysis of its employment practices, granted pay transparency, and created a $ 6 million cash reserve to fund diversity, equity programs. and inclusion over the next three years, among other changes.

In a statement, Riot said the company “was at the heart of what has become an account in our industry” and that it “hasn’t always lived up to our values.”

“While we are proud of how far we have come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past,” he said. “We hope this rule properly recognizes those who have had negative experiences with Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry.”

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