Case claims "persisting sexual harassment, misbehavior and prejudice that dominate the sexually-hostile work environment of Riot Games"
A current and a former Riot Games employee has filed a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming the publisher of a "sexually-hostile work environment" that has repressed their pay and career prospects because they are women.
The The lawsuit – which follows a recent Kotaku investigation into sexist culture at Riot – claims that Riot has violated the California Equal Pay Act and has allowed discrimination on the grounds of sex in the workplace. The complaint further claims "like many female employees of Riot Games […] Plaintiffs also have their working conditions negatively affected by the ongoing sexual harassment, misbehavior and prejudice that dominate the sexually-hostile work environment of Riot Games.
As reported by Kotaku, prosecutors – Jessica Negron and Melanie McCracken, of whom the latter is still working at the company – seek compensation for "unpaid wages, damages and other fines, with an exact amount to be determined during the trial", for which the suit "demands" a jury.
The prosecutors say they want to put an end to Riot's alleged practice of "paying more men than women who perform the same job, men more often in higher roles than women promote women and women who have similar qualifications as well-compensated men." The trial also says that Riot wants to prevent it from creating, encouraging and maintaining a working environment that exposes its female employees to discrimination, intimidation and retaliation on the basis of sex or gender.
The lawsuit claims that Negron took on her duties without sufficient compensation or a change in position. After three men had been hired and left the role without being given the opportunity to interview for the position, she finally got the opportunity to do the work again, but without the proper compensation or change of the job. The third of these supervisors told Negron that "diversity should not be a central issue when designing Riot Games products because gaming culture is the last remaining safe haven for white teenage boys."
McCracken believes that she was denied promotions, punished by male leaders and refused an appropriate allowance as part of a trend & # 39; in discrimination against women. When McCracken filed a complaint about gender discrimination at HR, HR reportedly did not hold the meeting confidential and leaked the information to its supervisor. She would then have "received a five-month countdown to find a new job or" get fired ".
Kotaku's original research received contributions from dozens of members of Riot employees from the past and present. Although not all female employees have encountered problems, it painted a photograph of a studio with a systemic culture of sexism, inspiration a formal apology from Riot. The promise continued with a list of seven steps Riot takes to ensure that it is a workplace that is safe and welcoming to all employees or contractors, including setting up a new team for Riot & # 39; s Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, training employees and setting up an anonymous hotline for complaints and investigations.
Despite these commitments, two staff members left shortly after the departure of Riot & # 39; s PAX West women / non-binary only panels. Riot claimed that it was due to violations of the social media policy.
In response to the lawsuit, Riot Kotaku made the following statement: "Although we do not discuss the details of pending litigation, we can say that we take seriously and thoroughly investigate every allegation of this nature, and we remain committed to an in-depth and comprehensive evolution of our culture to ensure that Riot is a place where all the rioters do well. "