Riot Games, the publishers of League of Legends, one of the most popular esports betting titles in the world, have announced that the company has agreed a $100m settlement to bring to an end a 2018 gender-based discrimination lawsuit.
The 2018 suit “McCracken vs Riot Games” alleged that a significant number of female employees at Riot Games were subjected to many forms of gender discrimination and sexual harassment that dated back to 2014.
The suit was filed after a Kotaku report that covered multiple examples of misogyny and discrimination against women at the company, amidst accusations that the atmosphere within the Riot Games workplace was toxic for women at this time.
Initial Settlement Offer Declined
After the damning report and subsequent lawsuit, Riot agreed to a deal to pay claimants around $10 million in a settlement for the case, but the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing intervened.
They suggested that the agreement offer was far too low based on the reports of what had happened at Riot Games and the size of the company, and they argued that the women named in the suit could deserve 40x more than what Riot were offering.
As such, they intervened in the settlement with the objective of securing a fair payout for the women in the class action.
That has now come to fruition with Riot Games agreeing to pay $80 million to the claimants, who now number more than 2,300 ex-employees of the company, as well as agreeing to pay $20 million to cover the plaintiffs’ legal costs.
Funds will be awarded to the workers based on how long they were employed by Riot Games, with those serving longer periods eligible for a larger proportion of the payout.
However, the woman named in the original case, Melanie McCracken, has settled her case with Riot Games aside from the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money.
Sweeping Workplace And Attitude Reforms
Alongside the payout, Riot has also agreed to a number of major changes and sweeping reforms to improve its workplace culture and to make its work environment one that is respectful and supportive of women employees.
Some of these changes include:
- Creation of a $6m dollar cash reserve for each of the next three years to ensure adjustments are made to equalize pay and to fund diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
- To appoint and cover the cost of a private third party expert to investigate gender-equity in terms of employee pay, promotions and job assignments over the next three years.
- To agree to remedy any disparities noted by the above that cannot be explained legitimately.
- To ensure that women and other under-represented communities on employment selection panels.
- Much greater transparency for pay scales and not relying on past salary history to set an employee’s pay or to give them their job title.
Riot Games will also be monitored for three years as part of the agreement to ensure that they maintain compliance with the settlement and to continue to improve its work environment.
“Great Day For The Women Of Riot Games”
Speaking about the agreement, Genie Harrison, the employment and sexual harassment lawyer acting as counsel for the plaintiffs stated:
“This is a great day for the women of Riot Games – and for women at all video game and tech companies – who deserve a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination.”
“We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company.”
This could be the first of a number of such settlements with Activision Blizzard also under investigation over employee sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination.