State of California files enforcement suit against Riot Games in ongoing investigation of gender discrimination

The department said Riot has failed to provide adequate information regarding equal pay.

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The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is filing an enforcement suit against Riot Games as part of an ongoing investigation into gender discrimination within the company.

The Californian department has said it will turn to state courts to require Riot to provide the DFEH with any necessary information as to whether it’s female employees are being paid less than its male employees. Riot has so far failed to provide the DFEH with adequate information regarding equal pay within the company, according to the department’s press release.

“When companies fail to cooperate voluntarily with our investigations, including with our investigative discovery, DFEH will exercise its right to seek assistance from the courts,” DFEH director Kevin Kish said. “Doing so ensures our investigations are informed by relevant evidence and completed without unnecessary delay.”

The enforcement suit comes as just part of an ongoing state investigation into the League of Legends developer for “alleged unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault, retaliation, and gender discrimination.”

The investigation follows a lengthy report from Kotaku in 2018 that pointed to sexual harassment, discriminatory hiring processes, and a wider “bro culture” at Riot. In the report, multiple men and women came forward to express sexist language or behavior they faced during their time with the company.  

In November, two women who had worked with the company filed a lawsuit against Riot claiming the developer denied equal pay and stifled careers of employees based on their gender. In response, over 150 Riot employees organized a company-wide walkout in May. While Riot supported the protest, it issued a statement saying it would not change its current policies regarding active litigation.

Update June 12 10:50pm CT: Riot has reached out to Dot Esports in response to the DFEH’s press release with the following:

“We’ve been in active conversations with the DFEH since its inquiry began. Investigations like this can arise when there have been allegations of workplace disparity and we’ve been cooperating in good faith with the DFEH to address its concerns. During this time, we’ve promptly responded to the DFEH’s requests, and have produced over 2,500 pages of documents and several thousand lines of pay data so far. We’ve also made several recent requests that the DFEH participate in a call with us to address their requests. To date, these requests have been unanswered, so we’re frankly disappointed to see the DFEH issue a press release alleging that we’ve been non-cooperative. We’re confident that we’ve made substantial progress on diversity, inclusion, and company culture, and look forward to continuing to demonstrate this to the DFEH.”