Riot Games will be settling the 2018 sex discrimination lawsuit for $100 million, it has been announced today. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which blocked an original $10 million settlement on grounds arguing victims were entitled to more, states that this sum will remedy violations against 1065 women employees and 1,300 women contractors. The DFEH has stated than employees or contractors who worked for Riot Games from November 16th, 2014 may be eligible to claim compensation.
The agreement states the following:
• Pay $100 million, of which a minimum of $80 million is dedicated to compensating workers. This amount includes $4 million in penalties under the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), one of the largest such penalties assessed by the DLSE in its history.
• Create a $6 million dollar cash reserve for each year of the three-year term of the consent decree (for a total of $18 million) to make pay adjustments and to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
• Make available 40 full-time positions in engineer, quality assurance, or art-design roles to qualified class members who worked as temporary contractors in a competitive process.
• Hire and pay for an independent third-party expert approved by DFEH to conduct a gender-equity analysis of employee pay, job assignments, and promotions each year for three years and remedy disparities that cannot be explained by bona fide, legitimate reasons.
• Hire and pay for an independent third-party monitor approved by DFEH to audit compliance with workplace protections, including a review of complaint investigations and outcomes, each year for three years.
“This historic agreement reflects California’s commitment to strategic and effective government enforcement of the State’s robust equal-pay, anti-discrimination, and antiharassment laws,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “If entered by the court, this decree will compensate employees and contractors affected by sex discrimination and harassment, ensure lasting change in this workplace, and send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from
discrimination and harassment.”
“My office determined that Riot’s proposed initial PAGA settlement with private counsel was insufficient and did not adequately deter the company from violating women’s right to equal pay for equal work,” said California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “Under the Equal Pay Act, employers who pay women less than their male counterparts for substantially similar work are violating the law. Collaborating with DFEH produced a proposed enforcement outcome that holds the employer accountable, compensates the workers, and will result in the largest PAGA settlement DLSE has obtained to date.”
A statement by Riot Games was released to The Washington Post, in which it said: “Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry,” Riot Games wrote in a statement shared with The Washington Post. “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. … 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.”