Riot: $400 million discrimination payout number “bogus” and not “grounded in fact”

The California court will rule on Feb. 3.

Image via Riot Games

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) believes the female employees suing Riot Games for gender discrimination and harassment are potentially entitled to over $400 million, far above the $10 million amount that the two parties settled on. But Riot thinks that number is absurd.

The DFEH’s sum includes back pay based on wage discrepancies between men and women at the company. But Riot spokesperson Joe Hixson claims the DFEH’s numbers are “simply not grounded in fact or any reasonable analysis,” criticizing its methodology for determining the “bogus” $400 million amount.

“Among other issues, the DFEH’s compensation analysis is based solely on gender—comparing all men to all women, without regard to key factors such as job title, duties, skills, experience, or education—is a departure from logic and the law,” Hixson told Dot Esports.

Hixson cited the Equal Pay Act, which requires the same salaries for employees performing jobs of “substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility.” But the DFEH took none of this into account, according to Riot.

Hixson also explained that a large part of the DFEH’s $400 million analysis used “raw” W-2 data, but didn’t consider “various material factors beyond wages.” This likely means that the purchase price of Riot stock wasn’t reflected in the raw income data even though it would have “massive outsized impacts” on individual W-2s.

A 2018 Kotaku report revealed numerous employees alleging sexual harassment and discrimination made it nearly impossible for women to move up in the company. This sparked Riot’s new “First Steps Forward” initiative to eliminate sexism and misogyny, while expanding on inclusivity and equality.

A Feb. 3 court ruling will determine if the $10 million proposal between both parties is rejected or satisfactory.