- Riot Games has made significant effort to improve its work environment culture since 2018
- The McCracken vs Riot Games lawsuit has now been settled and chalked up as a significant win for the plaintiff
- The California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has attached certain conditions to the settlement as well
Riot Games has closed an important chapter with the $100 million settlement of the gender discrimination lawsuit launched in 2018 against the company.
Riot Games Does the Right Thing
There are two high-profile cases that rocked the gaming industry this year, or perhaps three if you count the lawsuit filed by Epic Games, challenging what the company alleged was Apple’s monopoly over the App Store.
The two cases we mean, however, are the ones brought by California against Riot Games and Activision Blizzard, with the state’s labor departments taking the issue of the reported systematic mistreatment of women within the organizaitons’ ranks.
While Blizzard has been trying to deny all and any wrongdoing, only compounding the issue, Riot Games took notice and promised to do better. The gender-based discrimination lawsuit filed in 2018 has now come to an end with Riot Games agreeing to pay $100 million global settlement to employees and make sure that it does better. The statement read:
“Current and former full-time employees and temporary agency contractors in California who identify as women and worked anytime from November 2014 to present.”
Riot Games will allocate $80 million of the settlement money towards those payouts and another $20 million will go to cover legal expenses and fees and set the case aside.
What Was Riot Games Sued Over?
The “McCracken vs Riot Games” lawsuit was filed by company employees who alleged that women had been discriminated against on a company level, with the first such accidents dating back to at least 2014.
The “frat culture” mentality was exposed in a piece of hard-hitting journalism by Kotaku which broke the story and brought light to the toxic culture the company had been (unwillingly) promoting. Riot responded by acknowledging the issues to some extent, something that Blizzard did not when first faced with similar allegations and said it would be paying $10 million to affected employees.
However, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which is also leading the charge against Blizzard, argued that the sum was virtually negligible and that employees could be entitled to much more than that. The exact figure cited by the DFEH was $400 million, which prompted a lawsuit.
A Great Day for Women in Riot Games
Genie Harrison, who represents the original plaintiff in the case, argued that the settlement was a “good day for women in Riot Games.” Harrison welcomed the proactive approach by the company and the efforts that it had put in since 2018 to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment.
Riot Games stated that the settlement should be understood as the company’s own desire to do right by employees it might have wronged and the company’s determination to remain a high standard in the industry when it comes to accountability and equality.
As part of the settlement, Riot Games will have to meet other criteria, DFEH argues. Part of those include 40 full-time positions in various departments for qualified class members who were previously on temporary contracts.
The DFEH will now require Riot Games to hire an independent third-party auditor that observes compliance with workplace protections, and more. The settlement allows Riot Games to turn a fresh page.