Riot Games to pay almost £75million in gender discrimination lawsuit settlement

Some of the settlement will go towards legal fees

Riot Games will pay around £75million ($100million USD) in a settlement for a gender discrimination lawsuit from 2018.

The company responsible for titles like Valorant and League Of Legends reached an agreement with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), California Division of Labor Standards (DLSE) and several other plaintiffs.

Around £59million ($80million USD) will go to members of the lawsuit, with the other £15million ($20million USD) going towards legal fees. The lawsuit came after Kotaku published an article highlighting the culture of sexism at the developer.

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“This is a great day for the women of Riot Games,” said the plaintiff’s counsel Genie Harrison, “and for women at all video game and tech companies — who deserve a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination. We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company.”

You can find the DFEH’s statement on the settlement here, with the settlement going to “approximately 1,065 women employees and 1,300 women contract workers”. In 2020 a £7.5million ($10million USD) settlement was proposed, but this was rejected.

In addition to the monetary settlement, Riot has agreed to create a cash reserve for each year of the three-year term of its consent decree to fund diversity, equity and inclusion programs (for a total of $18million USD). It will also make 40 full-time positions available in many roles for those who “worked as temporary contractors in a competitive process” and will hire and pay a DFEH approved independent third party to audit compliance and workplace protections.

Women who have worked at Riot Games since November 6, 2014, are eligible for compensation. The Washington Post also received an email from Riot Games executives sent out to employees, it read:

“We want to acknowledge that the timing of this announcement isn’t ideal. The final details of the agreement came together quickly, and we wanted you to hear about it from us directly rather than read about it in the news while on break.”

IGN wrote that a Riot spokesperson said: “Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we hadn’t always lived up to our values. As a company we stood 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.

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“We’re incredibly grateful to every Rioter who has worked to create a culture where inclusivity is the norm,” the statement continues. “Where we’re deeply committed to fairness and equality, and where embracing diversity fuels creativity and innovation.

“While we’re proud of how far we’ve come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past. We hope that this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry,” it adds.

The lawsuit against Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent from earlier this year is not included in this settlement. Riot denies these allegations and found in March through a third-party investigation that there was no evidence of wrongdoing. According to the company, this case is in arbitration.

In other news, Treyarch has recently released an inclusivity statement following the situation at Activision Blizzard. It has come to light that this was written by women staff at the developer.

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