Update: Riot has got in touch to suggest that most of this is only relevant to former employees.
The state of California claims that Riot Games is purposefully delaying its company’s sexual harassment investigation.
In July, it was reported that California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) had spent two years investigating reports of abuse and harassment at Activision Blizzard.
It was also recently confirmed that DFEH is now looking into the work culture at League Of Legends developer, Riot Games after a DFEH litigation notice was spotted regarding harassment and abuse at the company, dating back to 2018.
The post reports that Riot violated the law in multiple ways including “gender discrimination in hiring, pay and promotion decisions and sexual harassment”. In the investigation, DFEH petitioned a request to the courts to allow Riot to issue a notice to its workers informing them of their rights to speak to the agency, which the courts granted.
However, a new statement from DFEH claims that Riot is delaying its own investigation by not telling employees they have a right to speak on “sexual harassment and other unlawful workplace practices”, after being told two months earlier, as reported by Kotaku.
“In 2019, more than a year after the government opened a company-wide investigation of sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and sexual assault at Riot Games, the company announced it had reached secret settlement agreements with approximately 100 women who waived their claims and rights, without notice of the government’s actions. For the next 18 months, the DFEH sought the secret settlement agreements.
“The Court ordered Riot to produce them to the government in January 2021; however, Riot delayed production until April 2021. Alarmed by language in Riot’s settlement and separation agreements that suggested employees could not voluntarily and candidly speak with the government about sexual harassment and other violations, and obtain relief in the government’s actions, DFEH promptly moved for relief from the Court. The Court ordered Riot to issue the corrective notice; however, Riot has delayed the process for two months.”
In response to the new statement to Kotaku, Riot said “this issue is mainly related to former employees” and that “notices are being sent to former employees to confirm that Riot’s severance agreements have never in any way prohibited speaking to government agencies”, also claiming that the company “has never and will never retaliate against anyone for talking to any government agency”.
Earlier this month, Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack left the company “to pursue new opportunities” following the DFEH investigation.