Riot Games has settled their Gender Discrimnation lawsuit, paying out a grand total of 100 million USD to women in a class-action lawsuit jointly prosecuted by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) as well as the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
According to the Washington Post, the 100 million USD payout from the Riot Games lawsuit was split up between 20 million USD in legal fees, as well as 80 million USD to be deposited into an account, to be distributed to women named in the class-action lawsuit.
Both sides have agreed to the settlement, though it is still pending final approval by the courts.
This all started with a bombshell report by Kotaku in 2018, wherein it was revealed that Riot had cultivated a culture that discriminated disproportionately against women for what the company describes as not being “Core gamers”.
Riot had tried to settle the lawsuit previously- the company tried to get out of the lawsuit by paying only 10 million USD. However, DFEH had intervened and argued to the court that they were entitled to a bigger payout.
“My office determined that Riot’s proposed initial PAGA settlement with private counsel was insufficient and did not adequately deter the company from violating women’s right to equal pay for equal work,” said California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower.
“Under the Equal Pay Act, employers who pay women less than their male counterparts for substantially similar work are violating the law. Collaborating with DFEH produced a proposed enforcement outcome that holds the employer accountable, compensates the workers, and will result in the largest PAGA settlement DLSE has obtained to date“.
It wasn’t all about the money, though- Riot Games will also be under the watchful eye of a third-party firm, auditing the company for any more discriminatory practices out of the company as well as an audit of “Complaint investigations and outcomes” for the next three years.
While this settles one of the ongoing lawsuits, Riot’s legal troubles are far from over: another discrimination lawsuit was filed in 2021, though the outcome of that remains to be seen.
Riot Games had also issued a statement to the Washington Post expressing their opinion on the scandal:
“Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry”, they said. “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. We chose the latter. … While we’re proud of how far we’ve come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past. We hope that this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot.”
Riot Games has developed multiple titles, being best known for the League of Legends MOBA and its spin-offs Wild Rift and Runeterra. It also develops and publishes Valorant.