Riot Games has settled a class-action lawsuit for $100 million. Filed in 2018 by two female employees and later certified as a class-action, the lawsuit accused the studio of discrimination, sexual harassment, and unequal pay.
Under the terms of the settlement, Riot Games will pay $80 million directly to women who have worked at the company from November 2014 through to the present, including full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. The remaining $20 million will go to attorneys’ fees.
In addition to the $100 million payout, Riot Games will enact workplace policy reforms. These include the creation of an application pipeline for current or former contractors to apply for permanent positions and more transparency regarding salaries for job applicants.
“Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we hadn’t always lived up to our values. As a company we stood at a crossroads; we could deny the shortcomings of our culture, or we could apologize, correct course, and build a better Riot,” the company said in a statement posted Monday. “We chose the latter. We’re incredibly grateful to every Rioter who has worked to create a culture where inclusivity is the norm, where we’re deeply committed to fairness and equality, and where embracing diversity fuels creativity and innovation..”
The lawsuit accused Riot of putting women in lower-paying roles, paying women less than men for comparable work, regularly promoting men over women, and creating an office environment that exposed women employees to “discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”
Riot negotiated a $10 million settlement with the claimants in 2018, but the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing blocked the agreement. The DFEH said instead that women employees may be entitled to over $400 million in damages covering wage differential alone.
“This historic agreement reflects California’s commitment to strategic and effective government enforcement of the State’s robust equal-pay, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment laws,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish in a statement. “If entered by the court, this decree will compensate employees and contractors affected by sex discrimination and harassment, ensure lasting change in this workplace, and send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment.”