Riot Games, the makers of the highly popular free-to-play MOBA game League of Legends, has been under the spotlight of scrutiny for the last several months after a major exposé was published on the studio culture and allegations about sexism and harassment. Well, following those reports, former and current employees of Riot decided to sue for sexual discrimination.
Multiple claims were made about the work culture at Riot, including that the studio only attempted to hire in hardcore gamers, which the plaintiffs felt put an unfair disadvantage on potential female employees, as well as allegations that there was a studio culture that consisted of sending e-mails containing inappropriate content regarding female employees, as well as gestures and images that were sent unsolicited to female staff.
Some of these allegations may sound familiar because they were part of the original exposé that was published by Kotaku several months ago, along with some of the information that was contained with a second report done by the Los Angeles Times. This put a spotlight on Riot as a development outfit, which prompted the company to quickly respond by issuing an apology along with a promise to overhaul the way the staff is hired, conduct between staff, and the overall corporate culture. Part of this was exemplified in the studio’s efforts to be more diverse and inclusive by opening up workshops for marginalized and non-binary people at a recent PAX event, where design workshops were put into place to help cultivate a more understanding workplace environment for diverse individuals.
However, this does not detract from the current lawsuit taking place, where the plaintiffs listed a number of other issues that allegedly have still not been resolved at the studio, including claims that pay discrimination is still taking place.
The article cites several examples from the suit, which claimed that women were routinely “belittled” by supervisors during the staff meetings, and that when women were attempting to receive promotions they were passed over for male employees instead. In one specific example a male colleague’s position had to be temporarily filled by a female who was paid less than half of what he was, meaning that she was relegated to earning $56,000 for a position that saw her male cohort making $162,000. She maintained that position for six months at less than half the pay, and was eventually replaced by another male who received the proper title and benefits, at which point she resigned.
The suit is asking for wage compensation and punitive damages for the current employees at Riot and for those partaking in the lawsuit. Riot informed media outlets that the claims are being investigated and that the company is currently overhauling its corporate ecosystem to be less harmful, this included the new diversity and inclusion initiative, along with the workshops that took place at PAXWest a couple of months ago.