Riot Games, developer of “League of Legends,” will fork over at least $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of women employees alleging the company’s “bro culture” resulted in systemic gender discrimination.
Terms of the settlement in the case, reached in August, were revealed in court documents filed last week in California state court. Under the agreement, about 1,000 women who worked at L.A.-based Riot over the past five years are eligible to receive a payout from the settlement fund. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are set to collect about one-third of the settlement ($3.3 million) and most members of the class-action suit will receive at least $5,000, according to the filing.
In November 2018, Riot Games was sued by employees Melanie McCracken and Jessica Negron, who alleged violations of the California Equal Pay Act and a pattern of discrimination and sexual harassment by the company.
The plaintiffs alleged many women working at Riot did not receive equal compensation and found their careers stifled, and that female employees were subjected to ongoing sexual harassment including “crotch-grabbing,” “phantom humping” and “unsolicited and unwelcome pictures of male genitalia.” The lawsuit followed a detailed investigation by gaming publication Kotaku into Riot Games’ alleged culture of bias against women.
Riot Games tried to force two women who sued the company into legal arbitration — which prompted employees to stage a walkout in protest in May 2019.
In response to the settlement, a Riot Games spokesperson told the L.A. Times: “We’re pleased to have a proposed settlement to fully resolve the class-action lawsuit. The settlement is another important step forward, and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent.”
The proposed $10 million settlement is pending court approval. The plaintiffs are repped by L.A. law firm Rosen Saba LLP.
L.A.-based Riot Games is a subsidiary of China’s Tencent Holdings. Riot was founded in 2006 by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill and is currently headed by CEO Nicolo Laurent. The company says it has over 2,500 employees worldwide.