Riot Games to pay US$10m to female employees for gender discrimination suit

Riot Games, developer of video game League of Legends, will pay US$10 million to female employees who have worked at the company since 2014, under the gender discrimination and equal pay class action lawsuit. The group includes all current and former female employees and temporary agency contractors at Riot Games.

According to the court filing seen by Marketing, each employee will receive a minimum amount determined by their tenure length and status as either an employee (US$2,500 or US$5,000) or temporary agency contractor (US$500 or US$1,000). However, employees who signed a release concerning any violations of discrimination or took a severance are ineligible to be paid out of this settlement, according to Forbes.

The lawsuit arose from Riot Games' alleged "bro culture" which disproportionately affected women in hiring, promotion, and compensation, and is "a conduit to forcing females to endure sexual harassment and misconduct that has plagued gaming culture". Apparently, Riot Games' emphasis on being a "core gamer" has resulted in women being disparately treated at the company and fostered a culture of sexism that allegedly stifled women's careers, according to the court filing. Filed in November last year, the lawsuit alleged that Riot Games has or had a custom and practice of paying women less than similarly-situated men, and assigning women to jobs that Riot Games does not compensate as highly as those jobs populated by men, even when women are equally qualified for the more highly compensated jobs.

The lawsuit also alleged that Riot Games promoted similarly-situated and qualified men more frequently than women who are equally or more qualified for promotion, as well as assigned or demoted women to lower paid positions than similarly-situated men. The company also reportedly created, encouraged, and maintained a work environment that exposes its female employees to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of their gender or sex, the court filing read.

Prior to the filing last year, the court said Riot Games did take steps to improve its diversity and inclusion, including reviewing and analysing compensation data and making adjustments to pay where appropriate, revisiting and improving job descriptions to ensure better transparency, as well as revising the interview and recruiting process and guidelines to ensure fairness.

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