Update: Riot has hit back against the DFEH’s claim by saying the $400m number is “reckless, misleading, and wholly unsupported“. Original story follows.
The women suing League of Legends publisher Riot Games for gender discrimination could be awarded “over $400 million”, not the previously-settled $10 million, according to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The state regulator says the women could be due that money in back pay based on the differences in wages between men and women at Riot.
DFEH says the existing settlement does not do enough to change Riot’s future conduct as there have been “no enforceable changes to employment policies at a company alleged to be rife with sexism”. Finally, the agency criticised the women’s lawyers, saying they did not adequately attempt to determine a fair amount for their clients and made several procedural mistakes in the process.
Both Riot and the plaintiffs’ law firm, Rosen Saba, rebut the agency’s claims. Riot told the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the latest developments: “We worked hard to negotiate with the lawyer representing the class to reach an agreement that we collectively believe is fair for the class members. Now DFEH is trying to disrupt that agreement in a legal filing that is filled with inaccuracies and false allegations.”
The publisher continued: “We are particularly dismayed that the filing downplays and ignores the efforts we have made with respect to diversity, inclusion, and culture over the past 18 months. We look forward to making our case to the Court.” PCGamesN has approached Riot, the Rioters Against Forced Arbitration group, and Rosen Saba for comment.
The class action lawsuit was settled last year, pending approval from the Los Angeles Superior Court. That approval will be decided by a judge on February 3.
As well as allegations of gender discrimination, many of Riot’s legal issues over the past 12 months stem from its policy of forced arbitration, which means that employees are contractually obligated to take complaints that would normally be resolved through the traditional legal system into a private system without a jury or judge.
Riot has changed some aspects of its approach to forced arbitration, and back in May stated that “we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.”
Since Kotaku’s expansive report on sexual harassment and discrimination at Riot last year, the company has publicly vowed to improve its culture. It has since hired Angela Roseboro, formerly of Dropbox, as its first chief diversity officer.