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Riot Games said in court filings that it has agreed to pay at least $10 million to women who worked at the game company as part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit over alleged gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
The settlement amount, which the Los Angeles Times first reported today, brings the company one step closer to ending a difficult period in its history. Riot is the Los Angeles company that makes League of Legends, one of the most popular PC games in the world, and it’s branched out recently with the auto-battler Teamfight Tactics and a slew of new projects. It has tens of millions of players, making it a juggernaut in the industry.
The allegations of gender discrimination arose more than a year ago after gaming news/culture site Kotaku exposed what its reporting found as a toxic and sexist culture at Riot. The story described a “men first” “bro culture” in which women were regularly subjected to offensive behavior by fellow employees and managers.
Current and former employees sued in November 2018, and Riot said it had reached a settlement in the case in August. But at that time, it wasn’t disclosed how much money Riot would play to women who had worked at the company in the past five years.
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Game Workers Unite, which is trying to create a union for video game developers, tweeted its support of the settlement and the women of Riot.
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) December 2, 2019
Two women had filed a lawsuit alleging violations of the California Equal Pay act, alleging that they were routinely subject to sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Those elgible for the settlement include approximately 1,000 women who worked at Riot Games from November 2014 until the settlement date in August.
The actual amount that each current or former employee who self-identifies as female receives will vary, the Los Angeles Times said.
“We’re pleased to have a proposed settlement to fully resolve the class action lawsuit,” Riot said in a statement. “The settlement is another important step forward, and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent.”
The company has about 2,500 employees. Since the story ran in 2018, Riot has been working on improving its company culture, including hiring a head of diversity and putting all employees through training. The company has also reviewed its pay, promotion, and hiring practices for fairness and transparency. The court still has to approve the settlement, which the company and the plaintiffs have agreed to.
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