Following a number of lawsuits by female employees claiming gender discrimination and sexual harassment at Riot Games, the company revealed yesterday that it reached a settlement agreement.
Riot, known for releasing one of the biggest games in esports, League of Legends, announced that an agreement to resolve the class action suit has been reached by all parties.
Although Riot believed it had a “strong position to litigate,” the company decided that it was best in the long run to settle the lawsuit so it can move forward.
“We are grateful for every Rioter who has come forward with their concerns and believe this resolution is fair for everyone involved,” said Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent. “With this agreement, we are honoring our commitment to find the best and most expeditious way for all Rioters, and Riot, to move forward and heal. Over the past year, we’ve made substantial progress toward evolving our culture and will continue to pursue this work as we strive to be the most inclusive company in gaming.”
The settlement may set a precedent for other technology companies that suffer from similar “bro culture.” Riot admits that many companies in its position likely wouldn’t have chosen to settle. “But we felt it was the strongest statement we could make… that we’re prepared to go over and above in order to move forward,” Riot’s statement reads.
Issues at the Los Angeles gaming company were first unearthed by Kotaku last year, which exposed a culture of sexism and “bro culture” at Riot. A number of employees came forward, alleging that sexual harassment was rampant and discrimination made promotion for female candidates nearly impossible.
Since then, Riot announced a “First Steps Forward” initiative in which it apologized to current, former, and prospective employees for not being “the place we promised.” Riot’s “first steps” included expanding cultural diversity and inclusion, third-party help to rebuild culture, training, and an improved investigation process.
Despite the initiative, Riot employees staged a company-wide walkout in May after the company forced one of the lawsuits into neutral arbitration. Riot cleared meeting schedules for its employees and said it wouldn’t take any action against employees participating in the walkout.
The Rioters Against Forced Arbitration, a group created to protest the company’s forced arbitration, tweeted that the settlement is a “huge victory for women in games.”
Despite a year of poor exposure, Riot promises it will continue to strive to be a “great company” that “cares about its employees and its players.”