Riot Games, developer of League of Legends and the upcoming Legends of Runeterra among others, has agreed to pay “at least $10 million” to women who have worked at the company as part of a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Riot violated the Equal Pay Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Riot did so through unequal pay, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and more.
As the Los Angeles Times notes, the suit detailed allegations that Riot fostered a “men-first” “bro culture,” with harassment and inappropriate behavior such as “crotch-grabbing, phantom humping, and sending unsolicited and unwelcome pictures of male genitalia.” Managers also allegedly circulated a “hot girl list,” ranking female employees by attractiveness.
The suit also alleges that female employees faced retaliation for speaking up at Riot. Employees would be “denied promotions, refusals to provide increased compensation or equal pay, demotions, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, losses of benefits, suspensions, terminations, and other adverse employment actions.”
Once the settlement is approved, Riot Games will pay out to approximately 1,000 female employees who have worked at Riot since November 2014. Each employee will receive a portion of the settlement depending on how long they have worked at the company. Contract workers will receive less than full employees according to the settlement.
In a public statement from August, Riot stated: “We are pleased to share that we’ve finalized the proposed settlement agreement to resolve the class action case against Riot, and settlement paperwork has now been filed by plaintiffs’ counsel. While this is another important step in our journey, it is important to note that the settlement agreement is preliminary and is subject to the Court’s oversight and approval. We look forward to the final resolution of this case and continuing on our path forward.”
Riot Games and a commitment to change
Earlier this year, chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro outlined a commitment to inclusivity and to foster a better workplace for Riot employees. In the blog, Roseboro explained that she wanted “a solid foundation for a multi-year roadmap with tangible actions, accountability, and measures to monitor our progress.”
In a blog post from last August, Riot Games claimed that “gender discrimination (in pay or promotion), sexual harassment, and retaliation are not systemic issues” at the company. However, employees did experience incidences that were not in line with the company’s values or culture. As a part of Riot’s First Steps Forward initiative, Riot worked to expand company culture, receive third-party evaluations on diversity, and to improve the company’s internal investigation process.
While the settlement will have to wait for the judge’s approval before it can be finalized, Riot Games said in a statement, “We’re pleased to have a proposed settlement to fully resolve the class action lawsuit. The settlement is another important step forward, and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent.”