This Monday we reported on the walkout that Riot Games employees were planning, in protest against the motion from the company to block employees from taking legal action, which is based on arbitration agreements within their hiring contracts. This meant Riot Games’ upper management was able to take the five lawsuits, pending since the original Kotaku report on gender discrimination in the company, directly to private arbitration instead. Now, the company has announced that they will drop mandatory arbitration, but not until the current legal imbroglio with the pending lawsuits is resolved.
The League of Legends developer made an announcement on their official website, “Our Commitments on Arbitration and Next Steps for D&I,” explaining their plans to address all issues in the company, hoping to satisfy their employees’ demands. The following quote is bolded in the announcement, for extra emphasis:
As soon as current litigation is resolved, we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. At that time, we will also commit to have a firm answer around expanding the scope and extending this opt-out to all Rioters.
They add that they know this will not satisfy all of their employees and that they respect their decision if they choose to protest in the next Monday. They also claim to “admire their conviction and willingness to stand up for their beliefs.” They go on to clarify what arbitration currently means for the company, saying that “not all arbitration agreements are the same” in every company. Riot Games’ arbitration details are as follows:
- Riot covers all costs of the arbitrator.
- Both parties must agree on the arbitrator. Either party can reject an arbitrator — for example, based on their history of past cases — and the case will not proceed until a neutral arbitrator is selected.
- The plaintiff can hire a lawyer of their choosing.
- There is no confidentiality clause, which means the plaintiff can communicate about their suit against the company in the same ways they could in court.
- The plaintiff is allowed fulsome discovery.
- The agreement does not limit damages, which means there is no cap on total potential damages awarded, or the types of damages awarded — for example, punitive or consequential damages.
The announcement also includes a set of promises on what they intend to accomplish to deliver results in terms of Diversity & Inclusion in the next 30 to 90 days. They call it “Commitments and Timelines for D&I and Culture Initiatives,” and it seems designed to address all the issues brought up by the original reporting based on current and former employees’ complaints. Hopefully, it means that Riot Games is, in fact, turning over a new leaf to address the issues, rather than simply trying to quell further complaints in the hopes of avoiding future lawsuits.
What do you think of this new development in Riot Games’ legal imbroglio? Will it be enough to leave the debacle behind? Let us know in the comments below!