Riot Games settles in gender discrimination lawsuit — for $100 million

Image via Riot Games

We’re getting an update to a class-action lawsuit surrounding gender discrimination at Riot Games, the publisher of League of Legends and other titles. Following a 2018 lawsuit with California state agencies and current and former women employees, the company announced Monday it has settled the suit for $100 million, The Washington Post reports. Of that settlement amount, $80 million will go to members of the class-action suit, and the remaining $20 million will go toward the plaintiffs’ legal fees.

The allegations in the suit range from gender discrimination to sexual harassment and misconduct.

The 2018 suit, which included former employees Melanie McCracken and Jess Negrón, followed from an explosive exposé by Kotaku detailing the alleged culture of sexism, including women being passed up for promotions for not being as into gaming as the company would’ve liked. The article also listed toxic workplace behaviors being the norm, such as women receiving unwanted advances and harassment.

California’s civil rights agency, Department of Fair Employment and Housing (CDEH), stepped in via a court filing after Riot Games agreed to a mere $10 million settlement in 2019, with the California state agency arguing that victims should be entitled to as much as $400 million.

The $100 million will “remedy violations against approximately 1,065 women employees and 1,300 women contract workers,” according to a press release from CDEH.

As part of the agreement, Riot Games is now required to provide “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,” the statement said.

The plaintiffs’ counsel, Genie Harrison, an employment and sexual harassment lawyer, also released a statement, saying the settlement represents “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.”

“We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company,” Harrison said.

Update Dec. 28 3:30pm CT: Riot Games reached out to We Got This Covered with the following statement:

“Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we hadn’t always lived up to our values. As a company we stood at a crossroads; we could deny the shortcomings of our culture, or we could apologize, correct course, and build a better Riot. We chose the latter. We’re incredibly grateful to every Rioter who has worked to create a culture where inclusivity is the norm, where we’re deeply committed to fairness and equality, and where embracing diversity fuels creativity and innovation.

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.”

Riot Games released more details about the settlement on their website.