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Riot Games has settled its sexual harassment lawsuit for $ 100 million as part of a global settlement ending the three-year-old lawsuit.
The publisher of League of Legends and Valorant had already settled the lawsuit in 2019 for $ 10 million, but the California State Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) stepped in and said the amount money was too low. While the state agency wanted the settlement to be $ 400 million, the actual settlement is much more, with $ 80 million for the women who joined the class action lawsuit against Riot Games and $ 20 million for the women. attorney’s fees and other expenses.
Riot Games has also committed to have its internal reporting and pay equity processes monitored by a third party jointly approved by Riot and the DFEH for three years.
The allegations of gender discrimination arose in 2018 after gaming news / culture site Kotaku revealed what its reporting revealed to be a toxic and sexist culture at Riot. The story described a “men-first culture” in which women were regularly subjected to offensive behavior from their colleagues and managers.
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In an internal email, the company said “it is the right thing to do, both for the company and for those whose experiences at Riot fell short of our standards and values.” .
The company also said, “We also hope this demonstrates our willingness to lead by example in our industry. Over the past three years, we have significantly improved our human resources and D&I practices. We have seen the positive impact of these improvements both in our internal Global Rioter Survey and in anonymous external surveys like Great Place to Work.
Los Angeles-based Riot announced that it has reached an agreement with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and several private plaintiffs to resolve the gender discrimination dispute, originally launched under the name of “McCracken vs Riot Games” in 2018.
Under the settlement agreement, Riot will pay $ 80 million to the group, which includes all current and former full-time employees and temporary agency contractors in California who identify as female and have worked. anytime from November 2014 to present.
Payment, which will settle all claims, will be made into a settlement fund and distributed among the class as approved by the court, pending court approval.
Final court approval of the settlement is pending, with a hearing scheduled in the coming months. Riot Games is represented in this case by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The law firm Genie Harrison APC and JML Law APLC represent the class plaintiffs.
In a statement, Riot said, “Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what has become an account in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we had not always lived up to our values. As a company, we were at a crossroads; we could deny the flaws in our culture, or we could apologize, put things right, and build a better Riot. We chose the latter. We are extremely grateful to every Rioter who has worked to create a culture where inclusiveness is the norm, where we are deeply committed to fairness and equality, and where embracing diversity fuels creativity and l ‘innovation.
The company added, “While we are proud of how far we have come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past. We hope this rule properly recognizes those who have had negative experiences with Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the gaming industry.
Law firm Genie Harrison, which represented the women in the case, said in a statement, “This is a great day for the women at Riot Games – and for the women of all video game and gaming companies. technology – who deserve a workplace free from harassment and discrimination, ”said Genie Harrison. “We appreciate Riot’s soul-searching and his work since 2018 to become a more diverse and inclusive company, his willingness to take responsibility for its past and its commitment to fairness and equality in the future.” . “
And JML Law’s Joseph Lovretovich said in a statement, “I am honored to represent the resilient women of Riot Games and to help achieve this settlement on their behalf. We hope women around the world take note and demand the fair pay and treatment to which they are entitled under the law. “
The lawsuit settlement signals what Activision Blizzard could face in its own dispute with DFEH and others over sexual harassment in a lawsuit brought this year against another video game giant.
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