Game maker Riot Games, the video game maker said on Monday evening agreed to pay $US100 million to settle a gender discrimination suit with more than 2000 current and former female employees. The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2018 than in early 2020, two California employment agencies intervened to block the settlement, arguing that the women could be entitled to more than $US400 million.
California had been investigating the company after claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, unequal pay and retaliation against women. If the settlement is approved by the Los Angeles Superior Court, it will “send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment”, Kevin Kish, director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, said.
Under terms of the agreement, more than 1000 full-time employees and 1300 contractors dating to November 2014 would share $US80 million, with another $US20 million going to lawyers’ fees and other costs.
Riot agreed to fund a diversity and inclusion program and consented to a three-year, third-party analysis of gender equity in employee pay and job assignments, as well as to an audit of workplace investigations.
If the settlement is approved by the Los Angeles Superior Court, it will “send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment”, Kevin Kish, director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, said.
In an email to the company’s employees viewed by The New York Times, sent minutes before the settlement announcement, CEO Nicolo Laurent wrote that the timing “isn’t ideal” but the “final details of the agreement came together quickly”. He said he hoped the settlement “symbolizes a moment where we move forward as a united company”.
The proposed settlement was hailed as a win for women at Riot.
“I hope this case serves as an example for other studios and an inspiration for women in the industry at large,” one plaintiff, Jes Negron, said in a statement issued through a lawyer. “Women in gaming do not have to suffer inequity and harassment in silence – change is possible.”
“We believe this is the right thing to do, for both the company and those whose experiences at Riot fell short of our standards and values,” RIOT said in a statement. Riot added that it had improved its company culture over the past three years and that it hoped that “demonstrates our desire to lead by example in our industry”.
Riot still has ongoing issues. A case is pending with CEO Nicolo Laurent has been sued over claims he sexually harassed his former executive assistant. A committee formed by the company’s board of directors later said it found no evidence of the claims against Mr. Laurent.
Riot is one of the largest gaming publishers and owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent. Riot games titles include League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra, VALORANT, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and multiple work-in-progress titles. They are also expanding the world of Runeterra through multimedia projects across music, comic books, board games, and the upcoming animated series Arcane.
Its flagship League of Legends game made nearly $US2 billion in revenue last year, according to an estimate from the research firm SuperData. Riot games also hold the annual League of Legends World Championship features qualified esports teams from 12 international leagues. Worlds is the most widely viewed and followed esport tournament, and it’s among the largest and most popular gaming and sporting events in the world.
Source: New York Times
From The TradersCommunity News Desk