In December, additional financial details were revealed surrounding the settlement agreed to by Riot Games, paying out approximately $10 million in response to a class-action lawsuit brought by current and former employees who are “female-identifying” in 2018 and alleged discrimination and sexual harassment. According to some, this represents one of the largest settlements in the state of California in connection with litigation brought alleging gender inequality.
The lawsuit was brought after the release of a scathing report describing a toxic workplace culture at the company and a walkout at the company’s headquarters. The report detailed a culture in which gender discrimination made it impossible for female employees to earn as much as male employees, have access to promotions, and feel safe from sexual harassment.
How is Settlement Pay Determined?
While plaintiffs Melanie McCracken and Jessica Negron, who filed the initial lawsuit, will receive between $10,000 and $20,000, other impacted employees and contractors who worked for the company since 2014 will be paid based upon their tenure with the company, receiving between approximately $500 and $5,000, depending on their start date and whether they are/were a contractor or employee.
According to some reports, women who previously accepted a severance and signed a release regarding discrimination violations are ineligible to participate in the settlement. These individuals have been described by Riot as having been identified, through independent investigation, as being subject to violations of the company’s anti-discrimination and harassment policies, and therefore, Riot sought to separately settle with them. Some of these women have described having mixed feelings about not receiving a payout due to signing the release and/or taking severance; especially those who describe themselves as having “spoke up” and having concerns “given the circumstances around [their] exits.” Some have specifically pointed out that those with severance “were often the most severely harassed,” while also being “those that are marginalized and need the money more than others.” Some have also expressed concerns about the “female-identifying” language in the agreement, as it could exclude “non-binary employees and contractors who might have also faced discrimination at the company.” However, overall, the settlement has been described as a win for progress in attacking gender inequality in the workplace.
Undertaking Additional Changes
In addition to the settlement, the company has also committed to making a number of changes to its workplace culture to address the complaints put forth in the lawsuit. These changes include:
- Analyzing compensation data and making adjustments;
- Undergoing investigations involving third party law firms;
- Providing an enhanced review process;
- Building a team to lead changes in diversification;
- Appointing female executives to “C-suite positions”; and
- Appointing Youngme Moon to the company’s Board of Directors.
Contact Our Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Attorneys to Find Out More
At McOmber & McOmber, P.C., we take a proactive approach to each and every issue for our clients. Our firm represents a wide range of employers and employees dedicated to preventing, investigating, and defending discrimination and sexual harassment claims. Contact us today to find out more.