Riot Games Faces Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Over Systemic Sexism
Riot Games, Inc. is being sued by one former employee and one current employee who have accused the company of gender discrimination, including systemic sexism, sexual harassment and misconduct, Kotaku reported.
The former and current employees filed the class action lawsuit on Monday, alleging that the company fostered a “men-first” environment. “Like many of Riot Games’ female employees, Plaintiffs have been denied equal pay and found their careers stifled because they are women,” the lawsuit claims.
“Moreover, Plaintiffs have also seen their working conditions negatively impacted because of the ongoing sexual harassment, misconduct, and bias which predominate the sexually-hostile working environment of Riot Games,” the lawsuit continues. The company is also accused of violating California’s Equal Pay Act, and laws against gender-based discrimination.
Kotaku investigated the company’s sexist culture earlier this year and heard from 28 current and former employees who described a “bro culture” that included instances where behaviors that disadvantaged women employees were rewarded. Riot Games responded to the investigation, saying the company has a “zero tolerance policy on discrimination, harassment, retaliation, bullying, and general toxicity.”
Riot Games wrote on Twitter in August that it would “share the immediate and long-term actions we’re taking to enact real change for women at Riot,” over the following weeks and months. The company removed many of the employees who were accused of misconduct, Kotaku reported.
The plaintiffs of the class action suit are requesting compensation for unpaid wages, damages, and other penalties. An exact amount will be determined at trial.
Jessica Negron, who is one of the two plaintiffs, said she recalls male colleagues using the word “dick” more than 500 times. Additionally, one of her supervisors told her that “diversity should not be a focal point of the design of Riot Games’ products because gaming culture is the last remaining safe haven for white teen boys,” according to the lawsuit.
In a statement to Kotaku, Riot Games said: “While we do not discuss the details of ongoing litigation, we can say that we take every allegation of this nature seriously and investigate them thoroughly. We remain committed to a deep and comprehensive evolution of our culture to ensure Riot is a place where all Rioters thrive.”