The poisonous atmosphere of Activision Blizzard and the appalling treatment of women at the publishing behemoth have received a lot of attention in recent months. It’s crucial to note, however, that this isn’t an issue that just affects one corporation.
Many other firms, notably Ubisoft and Riot Games, have faced similar allegations. The latter firm was the subject of a lengthy inquiry that just came to a conclusion. Riot Games has agreed to a $100 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging gender discrimination.
Riot Games sued for gender discrimination
Riot Games was investigated for gender discrimination and sexual harassment after a 2018 story by Kotaku. Riot has been accused of the following:
- Denying women promotions in favor of less competent male coworkers on a regular basis
- Rejecting women’s ideas, then accepting the same ideas from a male coworker
- Expecting women to do unpaid secretarial work that isn’t part of their job description
- Giving women unpaid tasks in return for promises of advancements that never materialized
- Bosses’ unsolicited images of genitalia (to both men and women)
- Senior employees circulate names of female coworkers with whom they’d want to sleep.
- Regular fraternity conduct, such as grabbing genitals and farting at meetings
- Female employment applications for Riot were thoroughly vetted to ensure they were “core gamers.”
- Male workers were commended for qualities that were questioned in female employees (such as being “too ambitious”).
- Women who spoke out against these practices were told they would have to quit the firm.
Melanie McCracken and Jess Negrón, former workers, filed a class-action lawsuit in November of 2018. Riot Games first agreed to a $10 million payment, but the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) rejected it, claiming that the victims were entitled to significantly more.
A $100 million settlement was reached
Riot Games has agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit for $100 million after additional research. The DFEH, Labor Standards Enforcement, and a few individual claimants are all part of this new settlement. A total of $80 million will be given to women who worked at the corporation, with an additional $20 million going toward legal costs. A total of 2,300 current and past workers will be eligible for a stipend.
Riot Games has also agreed to make the following modifications to its employment practices as part of the settlement:
- For job seekers, there should be more openness on salary scales.
- An employee’s wage or job title will no longer be determined by their salary history.
- Contractors from temp agencies will be able to apply for jobs at Riot via a pipeline.
- A woman or a member of an underrepresented group will be on the hiring committee.
Riot Games will also be monitored for three years by a third party. This group will be in charge of handling human resource issues, as well as evaluating whether workers of both genders are compensated equitably. Both the corporation and the DFEH will authorize this third party, and they will be able to make modifications to the presiding judge. Before the settlement can be completed, that judge, Elihu M. Berle, must also approve it.