Computer games maker Riot Games Inc. agreed to pay more than $100 million to settle allegations of sex discrimination and harassment that involved 1,065 female employees and 1,300 female contract workers. The settlement was announced Dec. 27, 2021, by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
In the settlement, Riot Games also agreed to make changes in its workplace and pay for an independent third-party monitor to check compliance.
Riot Games will also make available 40 full-time positions in engineering, quality assurance or art-design roles to affected individuals who worked as temporary contractors.
The court must still approve the settlement.
In a statement, Riot Games said:
“Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. 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. We’re incredibly grateful to every Rioter who has worked to create a culture where inclusivity is the norm, where we’re deeply committed to fairness and equality, and where embracing diversity fuels creativity and innovation.
“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 and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry.”
Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent and other members of the company’s executive team also released a letter to its workers.
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 had filed a class action 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.