The company behind League of Legends is settling a three-year-old sexual harassment lawsuit.
Riot Games has agreed to pay $100 million to settle a 2018 gender-based discrimination class-action lawsuit filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the company's former employees.
"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," said Genie Harrison, the plaintiff's counsel overseeing the original lawsuit, in a statement to the Washington Post. "We appreciate Riot's introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company."
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Riot's legal troubles began after gaming site Kotaku released an expose of Riot Games's employment practices in August 2018, followed by a lawsuit filed by now-former employees Melanie McCracken and Jess Negron accusing Riot of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
Riot Games, most well known for their popular 5v5 game League of Legends, had initially agreed to settle the suit in 2019. However, the DFEH blocked the agreement with a court filing arguing that the victims were entitled to as much as $400 million.
The settlement was affirmed in a statement released by the DFEH on Monday. "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," said DFEH Director Kevin Kish in a statement.
The settlement will require Riot to pay $100 million, $80 million of which will go to Riot's current and former female full-time employees in California, states the DFEH.
Riot will also be required to have its employment practices investigated by a third-party firm hired by DFEH. "In an effort to drive ongoing transparency and accountability, Riot has also committed to having its internal reporting and pay equity processes monitored by a third party jointly approved by Riot and the [DFEH] for three years," Riot told Reuters.
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Riot's DFEH case is one of the most notable lawsuits involving accusations of sexual harassment in the game development world, but not the only one. The DFEH sued Activision Blizzard in July 2021, accusing the creator of games such as Overwatch and World of Warcraft of creating a "frat boy" workplace culture. The lawsuit and the following response from fans and employees have caused massive turmoil with the company, including several leaders leaving over the allegations.
Representatives for Riot Games and the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.