Riot Games, the publisher behind popular online games like League of Legends and Valorant, reached a $100 million USD settlement deal in a discrimination and harassment lawsuit brought by female employees.
Riot will pay at least $80 million USD (roughly $102.5 million CAD) to members of the settlement class and around $20 million USD (about $25.6 million CAD) in legal fees. Additionally, Riot will agree to workplace changes that include improved pay transparency and three years of third-party monitoring.
The settlement will cover a 2018 class-action lawsuit filed by current and former Riot employees, which followed a Kotaku report that detailed systemic sexism and unfair treatment at the company. Specifically, the suit described a work environment where male employees made derogatory sexual comments about female colleagues and a company-wide “unwritten policy and practice of preferring men to women in the hiring, promotion, and compensation of its employees.”
The Verge notes that Riot initially agreed to a $10 million settlement in 2019, but California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and Division of Labor Standard Enforcement (DLSE) blocked the agreement, saying women at the company could be entitled to up to $400 million. DFEH endorsed the latest settlement in a press release.
DFEH also noted that the lawsuit covers “approximately 1,065 women employees and 1,300 women contract
workers” and if a court approves the settlement, female employees that worked for Riot in either capacity since November 2014 may be eligible for damages.
“This is a great day for the women of Riot Games — and for women at all video game and tech companies — who deserve a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination,” Genie Harrison, the attorney for the plaintiffs, told The Verge.
While the settlement would be a win for female employees, it’s worth noting it doesn’t cover a separate 2021 complaint against Riot’s CEO, Nicolo Laurent. The complaint alleges Laurent harassed a former employee. Riot denied the allegations in March after conducting an internal investigation.
Further, the settlement comes after a court stopped DFEH from intervening in a settlement over similar claims at another games company, Activision Blizzard.
Header image credit: Riot