League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced that it’s settled a class action lawsuit alleging “gender discrimination in pay and promotion, sexual harassment, and retaliation against women working at” the company.
The lawsuit was filed last year, following a Kotaku investigation into systemic sexism at Riot, and was just one of numerous gender discrimination lawsuits faced by the company. Events came to a very public head in May when over 150 Riot employees staged a walkout to protest news that Riot’s attorney was attempting to prevent two of those lawsuits from progressing by insisting that those involved waived their rights to sue under the terms of their employment contracts.
In a statement released today, the company said, “We made a commitment to [employees] that we would be willing to take the steps necessary to build trust and to demonstrate that we’re serious about Riot evolving into an excellent place to work for all Rioters. Under these circumstances, we’ve had to look critically at our litigation approach to the class action lawsuit.” Although it “believed that we had a strong position to litigate, we realised that in the long run, doing what is best for both Riot and Rioters was our ideal outcome.”
“Therefore, rather than entrench ourselves and continue to litigate, we chose to pivot and try to take an approach that we believe best demonstrates our commitment to owning our past, and to healing the company so that we can move forward together,” Riot wrote.
To that end, the company has come to an agreement in principle to settle the class action lawsuit filed against it. Riot noted however, that the process is still in its early stages and that it could not share the details until the settlement had been reviewed and approved by the court. “We’re hopeful that the settlement will allow us to continue our momentum in making Riot a leader in inclusive workplaces”, its statement concluded.
In a separate statement, Rioters Against Forced Arbitration, which organised the walkout in May, said, “Settling this class action is a victory for women in games. We believe that this and Riot’s policy changes help continue the progress toward equity that we’ve made over the past year. While this settlement helps bring peace of mind to women at Riot, we want to acknowledge that issues of discrimination and harassment go beyond gender, and acknowledge the victims who aren’t covered in this suit.”
“The decision was made because of the hard work on the part of not only the plaintiffs and their lawyers, but all of the people at Riot brave enough to fight against injustice in the workplace,” the statement concluded, “We are proud to work with everyone who has collectively contributed to making this happen.”
Rioters Against Forced Arbitration noted that other suits that went to arbitration are still pending. Additionally, an investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing into claims of “unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault, retaliation, and gender discrimination in selection and promotion” at Riot is ongoing.