As we reported last week, following the reports of systemic gender discrimination within the company, Riot Games employees were planning a walkout in protest to the company's recent decision to block further legal action, based on arbitration clauses within the employees' hiring contracts. After that, Riot Games announced that the company would drop mandatory arbitration for new employees once current lawsuits had been settled. The overall impression is that Riot Games upper management has been proactive in putting out the fire first of all, in order to prevent further escalation in both legal action and news reports. However, in its latest website statement, the company did detail how they intend to address complaints from employees in terms of Diversity & Inclusion policies.
Today, as reported by Kotaku, the walkout is still in motion, though this wouldn't quite be the first major walkout at a major studio as stated, with that precedent already set by Crytek UK, as reported by Kotaku in 2014. The difference in wages being paid and how the events were stage are different, however. That makes the Riot Games employee walkout an important event as a protest to a widespread issue in the gaming industry. According to Kotaku, one employee stated:
I’m walking out as a symbolic action to signal to leadership that I care about this issue. I hope leadership takes the time to seriously listen to the issues.In their prepared statement last week, Riot Games leadership noted that they “admire their [employees'] conviction and willingness to stand up for their beliefs.”
The Kotaku report includes a few more details on the walkout compared to last week's report, with an estimation that about 100 employees will be taking part in the protest. As per a 2018 estimation from Wikipedia, Riot Games currently has about 2,500 employees, whereas LinkedIn estimates about 3,805 (this figure probably includes former employees as well). While the number of employees protesting the block from legal action may not seem that large in comparison with the total, it's still a significant share of employees.
In today's statement to US Gamer, Riot Games management said they will accommodate the walkout, including opening time from 2-4PM, so that employees are entirely allowed to take part in the walkout. The company also claims to "respect Rioters who choose to walk out today and will not tolerate retaliation of any kind as a result of participating (or not)."
What do you think of the walkout? Will it accomplish its purpose in the long-term, or are Riot Games just waiting it out? Let us know in the comments below!