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Riot Games has settled its $ 100 million sexual harassment litigation as part of a global settlement to end the three-year litigation.
The publisher of League of Legends and Valorant had previously settled the litigation in 2019 for $ 10 million, but the California State Department of Housing and Fair Employment (DFEH) stepped in and said the amount of money was too low. While the state agency wanted the settlement to be $ 400 million, the actual settlement is much more, with $ 80 million for women joining the class action lawsuit against Riot Games and $ 20 million for attorneys’ fees and other expenses.
Riot Games has also committed to having its internal reporting and pay equity processes monitored by a third party jointly approved by Riot and the DFEH for three years.
Allegations of gender discrimination emerged in 2018 after the gaming news / culture site Kotaku exposed what their reports found to be a toxic and sexist culture at Riot. The story described a “brothers first culture” in which women were regularly subjected to offensive behavior by coworkers and managers.
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In an internal email, the company believes “this is the right thing to do, both for the company and for those whose experiences at Riot fell short of our standards and values.”
The company also said, “We also hope it demonstrates our desire to lead by example in our industry. Over the past three years, we have made significant improvements to our D&I and personnel practices. We have seen the positive impact of these improvements in both our Global Internal Rioters Survey and anonymous external surveys such as Great Place to Work. “
Los Angeles-based Riot announced that it has reached an agreement with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and several private plaintiffs to resolve the class-action gender discrimination litigation originally initiated as “McCracken vs. Riot Games” at 2018.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Riot will pay $ 80 million to the class, which encompasses all current and former full-time employees and temp agency contractors in California who identify as female and have worked at any time since November 2014. until the present.
The payment, which will resolve all claims, will be made to a settlement fund and distributed among the class as approved by the Court, pending court approval.
Final court approval of the deal is pending, and a hearing is expected in the coming months. Riot Games is represented in this case by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The Genie Harrison Law Firm APC and JML Law APLC represent the plaintiffs in the class.
In a statement, Riot said: “Three years ago, Riot was at the center of what became a reckoning in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we had not always lived up to our values. As a company, we were at a crossroads; We could deny the shortcomings of our culture, or we could apologize, correct course, and build a better Riot. We chose the latter. We are incredibly grateful to all the Rioters who have worked to create a culture where inclusion is the norm, where we are deeply committed to justice and equality, and where embracing diversity nurtures creativity and innovation. “
The company added: “While we are proud of how far we have come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past. We hope this agreement adequately recognizes those who had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example to bring more responsibility and equality to the games industry. “
The Genie Harrison law firm, which represented the women in the case, said in a statement: “This is a great day for the women of Riot Games, and for the women of all technology and video game companies, who deserve a workplace free from harassment and discrimination, ”said Genie Harrison. “We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 to become a more diverse and inclusive company, its willingness to take responsibility for its past, and its commitment to continued justice and equality in the future.”
And Joseph Lovretovich of JML Law said in a statement: “I am honored to represent the resilient women of Riot Games and help achieve this agreement on their behalf. We hope that women around the world will take note and demand the fair pay and treatment to which they are entitled under the law. “
The lawsuit settlement indicates what Activision Blizzard could face in its own litigation with the DFEH and others for sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed this year against another video game giant.
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