Esports Giant Riot Settles Discrimination Case For $100m


Jan 19, 2022

Riot Games, Inc. is a video game designer, distributor, and esports tournament organiser based in the United States. Its corporate offices are located in West Los Angeles, California. Founded in September 2006 by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill to develop League of Legends, the business has since gone on to produce various League spin-off games as well as Valorant, an unconnected first-person shooter. Riot has been a part of the Chinese corporation Tencent since 2011. Riot Games, as a distributor, supervises the creation of League spin-offs by other programmers via its publishing arm, Riot Forge. Arcane, a tv show set in the League of Legends universe, was created in collaboration with Fortiche.

Riot is the owner of 14 international League of Legends esports leagues, as well as the League of Legends World Championship and the Valorant Champions Tour. As of 2018, the corporation had 24 offices globally and sold corporate sponsorships, merchandising, and streaming licenses for its leagues.

What Went Wrong With Riot Games?

Riot Games, the creator of the esports sensation “League of Legends,” offered to pay $100 million to resolve a class-action complaint claiming pay disparities, gender inequality, and sexual misconduct on Monday evening.

The case was filed in November 2018 after the gaming site Kotaku published a report exposing a sexist environment at Riot Games in Los Angeles, including women getting turned over for promotions, unwelcome sexual approaches, and men interrogating women about the validity of their video game fanbase. Several ex-employees later come out with similar accusations.

According to the California Department of Fair Employment, the lawsuit will address infractions against over 1,000 female workers and 1,300 female contract employees. Riot however has pledged to enhance working conditions and make the workplace fairer for female workers and candidates.

In November 2018, a complaint was filed alleging equal pay violations, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation against female employees. A $10 million settlement was agreed in December 2019, but two California authorities, the departments of Fair Employment and Housing and Labor Standards Enforcement, objected because they believed it was hastened.

A new attorney was recruited, and just about two years later, Riot and the claimants’ new lawyers confirmed Monday’s deal.

Among other improvements, Riot has committed to hiring a third-party expert to undertake an equity study of its employment practices, has given pay clarity, and has established a $6 million cash reserve to fund diversity, equality, and inclusion activities over the next 3 years.

Riot wrote in a recent statement that it “was at the core of what is now a reckoning in our business” and that it “hadn’t always stayed true to our values.”

“While we are happy with how far we have gone since 2018, we should also accept responsibility for the past,” the statement stated. “We feel that this resolution adequately recognises anyone who had poor experiences at Riot and indicates our intention to set an example in introducing more transparency and fairness to the games industry.”


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