League of Legends and its new various spinoffs of 2021 publisher, Riot Games, has announced to the public that it has come to a settlement with the state of California and certain former female employees who allege sexual assaults and a toxic “frat boy” culture ran rampant at the developer.
The settlement totals $100 million US [just shy of $130 million] — which will be broken down into $80 million to settle the 2018 class-action lawsuit originally brought up by past and present employees, and the remaining $20 million towards legal fees of those involved.
This new agreement is a marked change from an earlier agreement totalling $10 million in 2019 prior to the state of California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s involvement. The two agencies got involved late into the 2019 arrangement after they believed that the women affected were entitled to up to $400 million.
Under the agreement, at least 2,300 Riot Games employees from 2014 until now are eligible to receive a portion of the $80 million. Those who started closer to 2014 or who have been around the company longer are likely to receive a larger payout. “This is a great day for the women of Riot Games — and for women at all video game and tech companies — who deserve a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination,” says Genie Harrison, counsel for the plaintiffs. “We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company.”
Riot Games will not be making that move towards diversity and inclusion on its own, though. The settlement also commits the company to adhere to a number of workplace reforms including greater transparency around pay scales for job applicants, not relying on prior salary history to set employees’ pay or assign job titles, the creation of a pipeline for current or former temp agency contractors to apply to work for Riot Games, and finally, a policy requiring the presence of a woman or member of an underrepresented community on employment selection panels.
At the request of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Riot Games will also have to be monitored by a third party selected by the company and approved by the department for a three-year period. That party will oversee human resource complaints, how they are handled and whether employees of all genders are being paid fairly.
With similar allegations made of top developers like Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft, it will be interesting to see how this settlement impacts those allegations. The latter of the two developers is not based in Los Angelis where this legal precedence is now set.