League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced it will pay $100 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. The original settlement was $10 million but new lawyers were hired and pushed for a much bigger payout, which is now coming to fruition.
The settlement funds will be provided to more than 2,000 former and current female employees at Riot. Women’s rights attorney Genie Harrison, who argued on behalf of the workers, told The New York Times that the settlement terms are fair and that she feels proud to have worked on the case.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to provide what I think is a fair settlement,” she said.
The Los Angeles Superior Court still needs to approve the settlement. If that goes through, it could send a message to California companies that all industries in the state need to provide “equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment,” Kevin Kish of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing told the site.
According to NYT, more than 1,000 full-time employees and 1,300 contractors who worked at Riot as early as November 2014 will share $80 million, with $20 million set aside to cover legal fees and other costs. Riot Games will also put money into a diversity and inclusion program, with a third-party audit will be conducted to provide an “analysis of gender equity in employee pay and job assignments.”
Riot Games said in a statement, “We believe this is the right thing to do, for both the company and those whose experiences at Riot fell short of our standards and values.”
An August 2018 expose from Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio contained numerous serious accusations about the “bro culture” within Riot. Among the details was that managers were said to have had lists where they ranked women by attractiveness.
Riot is owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent. The free-to-play MOBA reportedly brings in billions of dollars in revenue every year.
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