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Riot Games to pay $100M in discrimination, harassment case

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Riot Games will pay $100 million to settle a discrimination and harassment case brought by more than 2,000 women employees, California’s civil rights agency announced Monday. 

As part of the agreement, the developer behind the game “League of Legends” will dedicate at least $80 million to compensating workers. The company will also create a $18 million reserve over three years to make pay adjustments and fund diversity, equity and inclusion programs, according to the announcement. 

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) first notified Riot in October 2018 of its investigation into allegations of harassment and discrimination, and employees filed a class action suit a month later seeking a proposed $10 million settlement. 

In January 2020, DFEH and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) intervened and objected to the proposed $10 million settlement. 

The state agencies reportedly argued the women could be entitled to over $400 million in potential back pay based on the wage disparities between men and women, according to the Los Angeles Times.

If approved by the Los Angeles Supreme Court, the $100 million settlement will “send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment,” DFEH Director Kevin Kish said in a statement

In an emailed statement, Riot said the company is “proud of how far” it has come since 2018, but “must also take responsibility for the past.” 

“We hope that this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry,” the company said. 

The settlement comes as another game company, Activision Blizzard, is facing a legal challenge over allegations of harassment and discrimination. The company rejected the allegations when the suit was filed in July. 

The lawsuit against Activision Blizzard led employees to stage a walkout, and prompted a shake-up of leadership at the company.

Updated 1:20 p.m.

Tags Activision Blizzard California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing Discrimination pay disparity Riot Games Settlement Video game companies Video game publishers
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