Several League of Legends characters representing Riot Games

$100m Riot Games Gender Discrimination Settlement Approved

July 26, 2022

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

A judge has approved a $100 million settlement for the plaintiffs of a Riot Games gender discrimination lawsuit that's been ongoing for four years. The settlement means Riot must pay thousands of female employees who either currently work at Riot or who worked there between 2014 and 2021.

What's the latest on the Riot Games gender discrimination lawsuit?

Back in December last year, it was revealed that Riot would pay out $100 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by several female current and former Riot Games employees. Now, as reported by Axios, a judge has granted preliminary approval to that settlement, paving the way for the lawsuit's conclusion. It's seen as a major victory for the Riot employees who brought the lawsuit, as well as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which previously blocked a much lower settlement proposal back in 2020.

 

Valorant, a game developed by Riot Games
Riot Games is best-known for games like League of Legends and arena shooter Valorant.

This lawsuit was originally brought forward in 2018, after a Kotaku story detailing sexism at Riot Games appeared in August that year. Riot subsequently attempted to block any further legal action being taken by employees, at which Riot workers staged a walkout in protest. Eventually, Riot agreed to a $10 million settlement with the plaintiffs of the lawsuit, only for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to step in and block the settlement, asking for a much higher amount of $400 million. Obviously, the DFEH didn't quite get that, but the $100 million that has been awarded is still a win for the Department and for the plaintiffs. In addition to the settlement, Riot has also agreed to three years of independent oversight, which means all complaints received by Riot's HR will be reviewed by external assessors, along with management's response to those complaints.

Riot Games is part of a much larger industry reckoning

It's not just Riot Games that has faced allegations of ingrained sexism and toxicity. Perhaps the most famous and egregious example is that of Activision Blizzard, which is currently embroiled in lawsuits and complaints regarding an allegedly toxic workplace rife with harassment and misogyny (which executives apparently knew nothing about, because of course they didn't). There's also Ubisoft, which has been sued over the harassment apparently endemic to its workplace culture and which apparently refuses to do anything meaningful about that harassment. Various other allegations and claims have been made against gaming industry individuals and companies, suggesting that there's a widespread issue of harassment and toxicity that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, this Riot Games lawsuit settlement is a positive step towards achieving that.

 
 
A pirate ship in Ubisoft's Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones developer Ubisoft is one of many companies hit by accusations (and lawsuits) regarding gender discrimination.

It remains to be seen whether this settlement means Riot Games has adequately addressed the issues of sexism and harassment within its workplace. If it leads to positive changes being made at Riot, then that's great, but if not, expect to see more employees coming forward and expressing their grievances. There are reasons to be optimistic; the three years' worth of independent oversight is definitely a positive step, although it remains to be seen how effective that will be. For now, though, it looks like both Riot employees and the company itself can start to move forward, at least from this particular lawsuit. We'll bring you more on this as we get it, so stay tuned to TechRaptor for more info.