Riot And California's DFEH Agree To $100M Settlement In Sexual Discrimination And Harassment Case
Initial claims were made in 2018 following exposé by Kotaku.
In 2018, Kotaku's Cecilia D'Anastasio reported on the "Culture of Sexism" that existed at Riot Games, which led to a $10 million settlement that was to be distributed to up to a thousand victims. In response, California's Department of Fair and Equal Housing -- the same agency that exposed Blizzard's misdoings and filed a suit against the company in July 2021 -- said that the sum "grossly undercompensates" the plaintiffs and instead sought the much larger sum of $400 million.
The final figure was somewhere in between. On Monday, the DFEH and Riot Games agreed to $100 million settlement, to be paid out to "approximately 1,065 women employees and 1,300 women contract workers," according to the DFEH's press release. The agreement will settle claims jointly brought by the DFEH and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
The agreement also calls for "comprehensive injunctive relief in the form of workplace reforms, independent expert analysis of Riot’s pay, hiring, and promotion practices, and independent monitoring of sexual harassment and retaliation at Riot’s California offices for three years." A $6 million cash reserve for each of those three years will be created to "make pay adjustments and to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs."
Other terms of the settlement include Riot making available 40 full-time positions to "qualified class members" and to hire and pay for independent third-party experts to monitor gender equity and compliance with workplace protections.
Riot has already instituted a number of reforms, including the hiring of a chief diversity officer, better priority on communication, and the formation of employee resource groups.
Three years removed from the initial story that prompted this settlement, it feels like Riot has taken the necessary steps to restore trust in its workplace conditions, for its current and potential employees, as well as fans. While it hasn't been the smoothest of sailing at all times, the company and its leadership have taken a humble stance that stands in stark contrast to the belligerence of Activision Blizzard and its executives, who could stand to take a lesson or two from the way Riot has handled its affairs.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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