Riot Games Inc. last week received final approval from the courts to settle a 2018 gender discrimination case. It includes paying more than $100 million to settle allegations of sex discrimination and harassment and applies to 1,548 women who are or were staffers or contractors at the Los Angeles-based computer games maker.
Riot Games first announced the settlement in 2021.
The settlement is the largest of its kind in the California Department of Civil Rights’ history, the Society for Human Resource Management reported. The female employees who brought the case claimed the company paid women less than similarly situated men; assigned women to less highly compensated jobs; promoted men more frequently than similarly situated women; and exposed employees to gender-based discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace.
The agreement also calls for Riot Games to spend $18 million over three years to fund diversity, equity and inclusion programs, SHRM reported, citing The Sacramento Bee newspaper. It must fill 40 full-time engineer, quality assurance or art design positions with women who worked as temporary contractors in a competitive process. It also will pay a third-party expert to conduct gender-equity analysis of employee pay, job assignments and promotions for three years.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing had notified Riot Games in October 2018 of its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation against women employees and temporary agency contractors in its workplace.
Riot Games’ workers filed a class action lawsuit in Los Angeles County court in November 2018 and entered a proposed $10 million settlement. However, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing objected to that proposed settlement in January 2020. The objection was joined by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said her office determined the $10 million settlement didn’t adequately deter the company from violating women’s right to equal pay for equal work.