Riot Games will use a huge proposed $10 million fund to pay every female employee it has worked with since 2014, court documents have revealed. This is part of a major gender discrimination lawsuit filed against the League of Legends publisher, potentially bringing to an end a case that has been ongoing since November 2018.
Riot was sued over alleged violations of the California Equal Pay act, with two former female employees who had worked at the LA studio claiming that they were targets of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. This lawsuit has now resulted in an estimated 1,000 women receiving a payout from a $10 million fund, with the individual sum handed to each employee and ex-employee dependent on the length of time they worked for the company.
The settlement was reported by the LA Times, who published the following statement from Riot: “We’re pleased to have a proposed settlement to fully resolve the class action lawsuit. The settlement is another important step forward, and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent.”
Ryan Saba, who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said in a statement: “This is one of the largest settlements in the State of California history for gender inequality. This shows that Riot is serious about changing the culture at the company.”
Court documents have also illustrated changes Riot has made to combat the issues that caused the lawsuit, including reviewing its payments and hiring a diversity officer. It has also sought to add more women to high-rank roles and reduce the wage gap between genders.
The lawsuit emerged following a detailed feature published by Kotaku, highlighting a “culture of sexism” at the studio. This included senior staff implying female staff members were only hired based on their appearance, female employees being overlooked for leadership roles, and them being “put at a disadvantage” compared to their male colleagues. This report contained statements from 28 current and former Riot Games employees.
In spring 2019, employees organized a mass walkout in response to the allegations of gender discrimination. This was also in response to Riot attempting to force two individual cases of sexual harassment and wrongful termination into arbitration.
The $10 million fund has been agreed upon by both parties, though the court still needs to approve the decision in order for it to move ahead. If approved, the net settlement proceeds are estimated at $6.2 million, which will be shared between recipients.