Riot Games video game development studio announced, Monday, December 27, that he had accepted an agreement as part of a group action brought against the company, accused of having allowed discrimination and sexual harassment against its employees to continue. Nearly 1,065 employees and 1,300 women who worked for Riot Games as service providers are affected by this decision.
This agreement, approved by a California state agency responsible for investigating civil law cases, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), must still be validated, in the coming months, by a court. It is, however, a major milestone in one of the largest cases of discrimination and sexual harassment in the video game industry.
This file erupted in 2018, following the publication, by the specialized site Kotaku, a survey of working conditions within this development studio, known for League of Legends, one of the world’s most popular online games. The article revealed numerous facts of sexual harassment as well as discrimination against women employees or service providers in the company. The investigation prompted two employees to go to court and launch a class action against the company.
In 2019, Riot Games had reached an agreement with several employees that included the payment of $ 10 million to former employees and contractors who so wished. This proposal, deemed insufficient, had been blocked by the DFEH and another California agency, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
A pivotal moment
The new deal, released on Monday, will require Riot Games to pay at least $ 80 million (including a $ 4 million fine) to women who have worked for the company since November 6, 2014. The studio will also have to fund an audit external review of its salary, managerial and human resources management practices, as well as recruiting full-time forty women who previously worked for the company as service providers. “We hope this agreement brings recognition to those who have had a bad experience at Riot and demonstrates our willingness to lead by example by demonstrating responsibility and equality in the video game industry.”, reacted the company in a press release.
This decision comes as major studios in the video game industry have, in recent years, been accused of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment and discrimination, and even of covering up the facts and punishing women. who were speaking. In 2021, Activision Blizzard, one of the largest groups in the industry, found itself under fire from critics, since the filing, in July, of a complaint by the DFEH, after two years. investigation, detailing systemic discrimination and cases of sexual harassment. On October 19, the company announced the dismissal of around 20 people after an investigation, but Activision Blizzard is still the subject of several legal proceedings.