Riot agrees to reforms and a $100 million settlement in gender discrimination suit

Riot Games' office

In 2019, Riot Games prepared to settle a class action lawsuit over gender discrimination for $10 million. In 2020, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing argued that the women suing the company could be owed “over $400 million”, a claim Riot said was “reckless, misleading, and wholly unsupported“. This week, Riot and the DFEH have agreed to a $100 million settlement, alongside a number of reforms to take place at the company.

Riot’s settlement with the DFEH, California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and private plaintiffs would require the company to pay $80 million in compensation to the approximately 2,365 women covered by the suit, and an additional $20 million in legal fees. According to a press release from the DFEH, the decree also “requires comprehensive injunctive relief in the form of workplace reforms, independent expert analysis of Riot’s pay, hiring, and promotion practices, and independent monitoring of sexual harassment and retaliation at Riot’s California offices for three years.”

Under the decree, which is still pending final approval from the courts, Riot would be required to set aside $18 million over three years to “make pay adjustments and to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs”. Riot will also be required to “make available 40 full-time positions in engineer, quality assurance, or art-design roles to qualified class members who worked as temporary contractors in a competitive process”.

“Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry,” the company says in its own press release. “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. We’re incredibly grateful to every Rioter who has worked to create a culture where inclusivity is the norm, 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.”

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