Riot Games, the company behind League of Legends, was in court on the 25th of January 2021 at 9am PST to appeal against class action by their female employees.
Especially since the gaming community is growing, news like this often deters the public from entering the industry and further slanders its reputation. To put it lightly, the gaming industry has not had a good track record when it comes to gender discrimination – and Riot Games is now in the running for the crown.
For the past two years, the company has been knee-deep into sexual harassment and pay inequality accusations. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Previously, employees at Riot could band together in a class action lawsuit when filing gender discrimination claims. Now, after their recent court hearing, all claims made by their female staff have to be arbitrary. This means that over 1,000 current lawsuits – not including future ones – will have to be individually filed.
It’s a very tedious affair, and this decision essentially renders all future gender discrimination cases to be very, very expensive. To add injury to insult, all past and pending cases also have to be individually made, meaning in many cases, years of effort will be availed to nothing.
What’s more, the company is allegedly choosing to reverse their stance of settling their disputes collectively because of financial reasons (rather than for the wellbeing of its workers). Their former gender discrimination settlements already significantly low-balled, with reports showing that a group of women who were potentially entitled to $400 million US dollars actually received $10 million. Despite all this, Riot Games is still claiming to be ‘for equality’.
With their new game, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story presumably coming out this year, all eyes are on Riot Games. As a company constantly making waves in the gaming world, it’s disappointing to see that Riot remains steadfast in their misogynistic business practices.
Riot Games will never change who and what they are at their core. After they realised they couldn't settle their gender discrimination lawsuit on the cheap, they are now trying to force the women seeking restitution into mandatory secret arbitration. pic.twitter.com/w8nVSyBvGi
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) January 29, 2021
Read a full statement from Riot Games to ShackNews on the arbitration agreement below.
“On Monday our Motion to Compel was granted and our arbitration agreements were once again upheld by the court. There were claims outside the scope of this motion which Riot never attempted to compel to arbitration, such as government and government-adjacent PAGA claims, which remain in court.
This ruling will allow us to reach a fair and speedy resolution to these individual cases, some of which have already been pending for more than two years. We have always been, and will continue to be, willing to engage in constructive dialogue to bring these matters to resolution as quickly as possible — so long as the resolution is grounded in the facts of these cases.
Notably, unlike some arbitration agreements, the agreements between Riot and its employees have no confidentiality clauses, which means plaintiffs can talk about their suit in the same ways they could in court. In addition, both parties must agree on the arbitrator, who is typically a retired judge. Either party can reject an arbitrator — for example, based on their history of past cases — and the case will not proceed until a mutually agreeable arbitrator is selected. All of the same remedies available to individuals through a court trial are available through arbitration, which means there is no cap on total potential damages awarded, or the types of damages awarded.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve established new and updated policies and programs to promote inclusion in day-to-day life at Riot and help rebuild trust, increased diversity in our leadership team and across the company, continued to take action to ensure we are equitable to all Rioters, and established new recruiting and hiring processes to better meet our goals and improve candidate experiences. While we know we still have work to do, we’re confident in the strides we’ve made towards our ultimate goal of becoming the most inclusive company in gaming. We pledged early on to be transparent about our progress and more details on our progress can be found in our latest diversity and inclusion progress report, an updated version of which will be released in the coming months as a new annual report.”
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