Riot Games, the developers of League of Legends, are facing an internal battle with employees as they try to deal with allegations over a sexist work environment and employees suing for violations of California’s Equal Pay Act. Those law suits saw Riot file a motion, stating that employees had to instead go through forced arbitration instead of through the courts, and this sparked what appears to be the first employee walkout of its kind in the industry.
Though Riot has agreed to remove the arbitration clause for future employees, current employees are still held to those terms. Speaking to Kotaku, Riot social listening strategist Jocelyn Monahan said, “We’re asking that forced arbitration be ended for all past, current, and future Riot employees, including contractors and in current litigation.”
The second catalyst to these events are the previous allegations over sexism in the workplace. While Riot fired several of those accused of harbouring a toxic culture, two high up employees have been retained. This includes the COO, who has faced several complaints, but has returned to work after two months of unpaid leave.
While a number of employees at the walkout expressed their fear of retalisation and being labelled “anti-Riot”, Riot are being outwardly accommodating of the walkouts, with a representative saying, “We respect Rioters who choose to walkout today and will not tolerate retaliation of any kind as a result of participating (or not).”
Despite this, Riot writer Indu Reddy said, “We might face unforeseen consequences despite leadership’s own commitments, because leadership is one entity, and there are a lot of Rioters throughout the org. We will prepare for retaliation. I think it wouldn’t be smart to not plan for it. But we’re not assuming it either because leadership said they wouldn’t retaliate—for this one, anyway. We will continue to ask for confirmation for future demonstrations.”
This is far from the end of the matter, as Monahan stated that further action would be taken if Riot do not make any commitment on ending arbitration.