Riot Games Sued for Gender Discrimination by Current and Former Employees

One current and one former employee of of Riot Games filed a class action lawsuit against the developer for discrimination based on employee’s gender. The League of Legends developer and publisher have been accused of systemic gender-based discrimination and promoting a “men-first” environment.

Kotaku reported on the lawsuit, following their investigation into the work culture at Riot Games published in August. The lawsuit was filed by former Riot employee Jessica Negron and current employee Melanie McCracken. The lawsuit alleges that, “plaintiffs have been denied equal pay and found their careers stifled because they are women. Moreover, Plaintiffs have also seen their working conditions negatively impacted because of the ongoing sexual harassment, misconduct, and bias which predominate the sexually-hostile working environment of Riot Games.”

The suit argues that Riot Games violated California’s Equal Pay Act, and a law against gender-based discrimination in the workplace. Negron and McCracken believe that many of Riot Games’ female employees have faced similar discrimination by their employer. The lawsuit is asking for as-yet undetermined unpaid wages, damages, and other penalties.

Riot Games sent Kotaku a statement regarding the lawsuit: “While we do not discuss the details of ongoing litigation, we can say that we take every allegation of this nature seriously and investigate them thoroughly. We remain committed to a deep and comprehensive evolution of our culture to ensure Riot is a place where all Rioters thrive.”

Kotaku’s investigation from August, detailed Riot Games’ toxic, misogynistic work environment, and the studio’s general disdain for women. Riot employs over 2,500 people, and only about 20 percent (500 individuals) are women. According to Kotaku’s investigation, women were often passed over for promotions and during hiring processes—even if these women were better qualified than the men that got the position.

Riot Games went into full damage control, attempting to downplay the cultural concerns and sexism that was detailed in the Kotaku investigation. The company published a blog titled “Our First Steps Forward” in late August in response to the scrutiny it was facing. In September, Riot hired a former Uber executive to help address internal diversity and head up the Diversity and Inclusion and Culture Strike Team.