In 2018, Riot Games—the studio behind League of Legends—was at the center of a massive gender-based discrimination and workplace harassment suit, following reports of a deeply toxic workplace. However, it’s been announced that Riot is settling that lawsuit to the tune of $100 million dollars.
Announced via press release that on December 27, 2021; the company will pay $80 million to members of the class-action suit and approximately $20 million toward plaintiffs’ legal fees. The lawsuit was filed by former employees Melanie McCracken and Jess Negrón, and was likely turbocharged after Kotaku published its exposé on the toxic and sexist culture that manifested within Riot Games.
Riot Games initially agreed to settle the suit in 2019 for $10 million, but California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) intervened, arguing the victims should be entitled to as much as $400 million. Approximately 2365 workers are eligible to receive recompense from the settlement.
“This is a great day for the women of Riot Games—and for women at all video game and tech companies—who deserve a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination,” said Employment and Sexual Harassment lawyer Genie Harrison. “We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company.”
The new settlement, which was with the DFEH, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), and other induvial claimants, states that, “women who worked as employees or contractors for Riot since November 6, 2014 may be eligible to receive compensation.”
“This historic agreement reflects California’s commitment to strategic and effective government enforcement of the State’s robust equal-pay, anti-discrimination, and antiharassment laws,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “If entered by the court, this decree will compensate employees and contractors affected by sex discrimination and harassment, ensure lasting change in this workplace, and send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment.”
This year has been one of particular note for companies needing to come to terms with toxic workplaces and the sexist culture that has pervaded the game industry for far too long. While a settlement is not the same as a verdict, hopefully it sets a precedent that will allow future victims to receive some form of relief.