Riot Games agrees to $100m settlement in gender-discrimination lawsuit

Any woman who worked at Riot Games from 2014 on is eligible for a piece of its class-action settlement.

Riot Games is the creator of League of Legends, a multiplayer online arena game that attracts 180m monthly players. (Source: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

Riot Games agrees to $100m settlement in gender-discrimination lawsuit

“League of Legends” maker Riot Games has agreed to settle a gender-discrimination lawsuit for $100m, per The Guardian.

And here’s what’s really wild…

Any woman who worked at the LA-based video game company since November 2014 — which includes 2k+ employees and contractors — is eligible for a piece, per a statement from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

The backstory

In August 2018, gaming site Kotaku published an extensive report on Riot, with sexism allegations including:

  • Lewd emails about female employees
  • Unwanted explicit images and comments
  • Passing women over for promotions or jobs in favor of less experienced men
  • Rejecting ideas presented by women, then embracing the same ideas when presented by men

In October 2018, the DFEH opened an investigation into the company.

A month later, ex-employees Melanie McCracken and Jes Negrón sued Riot Games, alleging gender-based discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and unequal pay.

Riot tried to settle for $10m…

… but the DFEH and California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) intervened, stating victims could be due $400m+ in back pay.

Now, assuming a judge agrees to the new settlement, Riot will pay $80m to the women and ~$20m toward legal fees. Plus:

  • One woman or member of an underrepresented community will sit on future hiring panels, per The Washington Post
  • A 3rd party, approved by Riot and DFEH, will oversee HR complaints for 3 years
  • Another 3rd party will analyze pay, assignments, and promotions for gender equity for 3 years

This all makes us pretty curious to see what will happen with Activision Blizzard, another California video game company facing a similar lawsuit.

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