Riot Games has announced it reached a $100 million global settlement with the California labor departments and the class of women employees for a 2018 gender-based discrimination lawsuit.
According to a Riot press release, $80 million will be paid to all of the “current and former full-time employees and temporary agency contractors in California who identify as women and worked anytime from November 2014 to present.” Riot is also paying an additional $20 million to cover attorneys’ fees and other expenses.
The 2018 lawsuit, “McCracken vs Riot Games“, alleged multiple instances of gender discrimination and sexual harassment directed toward several women dating back to 2014. This lawsuit was officially filed months after a report about the sexist culture at Riot Games was published by Kotaku. Riot initially agreed to pay $10 million in a settlement in late 2019, before the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) intervened and claimed the affected employees could potentially deserve over $400 million in a settlement.
Both the California DFEH and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) objected to the initial $10 million settlement, and intervened to ensure a fair payout. In its own press release, the DFEH listed other agreements that Riot has made as part of the settlement:
- Create a $6 million dollar cash reserve for each year of the three-year term of the consent decree (for a total of $18 million) to make pay adjustments and to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
- Make available 40 full-time positions in engineer, quality assurance, or art-design roles to qualified class members who worked as temporary contractors in a competitive process.
- Hire and pay for an independent third-party expert approved by DFEH to conduct a gender-equity analysis of employee pay, job assignments, and promotions each year for three years and remedy disparities that cannot be explained by bona fide, legitimate reasons.
- Hire and pay for an independent third-party monitor approved by DFEH to audit compliance with workplace protections, including a review of complaint investigations and outcomes, each year for three years.
“This is 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,” said Genie Harrison, the plaintiff’s counsel. “We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company, its willingness to take responsibility for its past, and its commitment to continued fairness and equality in the future.”
A Riot spokesperson said the company hopes the “settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrates [its] desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry.”