In a statement released on Monday evening, Riot Games, the video game developer behind famous games like as League of Legends and Valorant, said that it had agreed to pay $100 million to resolve a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by more than 2,000 present and former female workers.
The class-action complaint, which was launched in 2018, had been on pace to reach a $10 million settlement when it was initially filed. When the ladies who were suing Riot switched attorneys in early 2020, their new main attorney, Genie Harrison, concluded that the settlement sum was insufficient.
Additionally, two California employment agencies took the uncommon step of opposing to the settlement, claiming that the women might be entitled to more than $400 million in compensation. Apart from the complaint, the state had been conducting an investigation into the corporation in response to allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination as well as uneven pay and retaliation against female employees.
She described herself as “honoured and delighted” to have represented the ladies in an interview, saying, “I’m extremely glad that we were able to deliver what I believe to be a fair settlement.”
According to the terms of the deal, more than 1,000 full-time workers and 1,300 contractors who worked for the company since November 2014 would each get $80 million, with an extra $20 million going toward legal bills and other expenses.
As the firm said in a statement, “We think that this is the correct thing to do, for both the company and people whose experiences at Riot fell short of our standards and values.” Riot also said that it has made improvements to its business culture during the previous three years, and that it believed this “demonstrates our aim to lead by example in our industry.”
A leading game publisher, Riot Games, is owned by the Chinese internet giant Tencent and is one of the world’s most well-known brands. According to an estimate by the research firm SuperData, which was once known as the gaming research branch of Nielsen, the company’s main League of Legends game generated about $2 billion in sales last year.
In addition to numerous allegations of harassment and a work atmosphere that women have characterised as sexist and poisonous, Riot, like many other game companies, including Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard, has faced a number of additional difficulties.
Riot’s chief executive, Nicolo Laurent, was sued earlier this year on the grounds that he had sexually assaulted his former executive assistant. That lawsuit is still on the table. In a subsequent statement, a committee appointed by the company’s board of directors said that it had found no evidence to support the allegations against Mr. Laurent.
While Mr. Laurent acknowledged that the timing “isn’t ideal,” he wrote that the “final terms of the agreement came together swiftly” in an email to the company’s workers seen by The New York Times and sent minutes before the settlement news was made public. According to him, he hopes that the settlement “symbolises a period when we go ahead as a unified organisation.”
It was heralded as a victory for women at Riot when a tentative settlement was announced on Monday.
According to one of the plaintiffs, Jes Negron, “I hope that our case serves as an example for other studios and an inspiration for women in the business at large,” according to a statement released via her lawyer. It is not necessary for women in gaming to suffer in silence from inequality and abuse – change is possible.