A settlement has finally been agreed on in the years-long discrimination lawsuit, involving Riot games and many past and current employees. The suit alleged that Riot Games operated an incredibly discriminatory workplace, putting women and minorities in a second-class status. The lawsuit pointed to the various instances of sexual harassment and other abuses as fostering a ‘men-first environment.’ And now, the company has been ruled to pay $100 million in damages and fees.
The settlement was initially reported this week by Eurogamer. The terms include commitments for Riot Games to pay $80 million US dollars to members of the lawsuit. The payments will be disbursed to “all current and former full-time employees and temporary agency contractors in California who identify as women and worked anytime from November 2014 to present”. Also, the developer will be responsible for shelling out an additional $20 million in legal fees for the suit.
Riot has also agreed to allow a third party to monitor its payments and reporting for three years for any other pay-based discrimination.
The company had previously tried to settle the suit back in December 2019 with a $10 million payment. Regulators at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing disagreed. The body sided with plaintiffs in the ongoing legal battle, pushing for harsher penalties. It’s also worth noting that this same company tried to ram through an anti-arbitration clause a while back—designed to prevent future lawsuits just like this.
Riot offered up a statement along with the announcement of the settlement. “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”.
And it’s not just Riot Games finding themselves on the business end of this kind of legal trouble. Activision Blizzard has also been the defending party in a lawsuit alleging similar discrimination and workplace abuse. The company has been plagued by issues of sexual harassment and crunch culture for years, leading to walkouts and other protests by employees. It remains to be seen how that will play out.