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Riot Games settles gender discrimination lawsuit

Some New York gamers may have heard about a class action lawsuit brought against Riot Games in November 2018. On Aug. 23, the company released a statement along with the plaintiffs saying they had reached a settlement without going to trial. Riot Games said it felt like it had a strong case but that it was best for the company and its employees to move past the issue.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in California by one current and one former employee, the culture at the company normalized sexual harassment. The employees said they had been denied career advancement and equal pay because of their gender. In August 2018, similar accusations had been made against Riot, and the company said it was overhauling its policies. In December 2018, the CEO was suspended for promoting that culture. However, in May, over 100 employees walked out of the studio in Los Angeles after the company introduced a policy requiring arbitration for any disputes.

The walkout was organized by an employee organization called Rioters Against Forced Arbitration. That organization issued a statement in which it said the settlement was a victory for women working in games. According to an attorney for the plaintiffs, the settlement represents a significant step in making the company a more equitable place to work.

People who are dealing with workplace harassment or discrimination might want to talk to an attorney about how to proceed. Even if the company has clear policies for reporting discrimination, it can be helpful for employees to fully understand their rights and whether what they are experiencing rises to the level of discrimination or harassment. An attorney might advise a person to keep documentation to support allegations. The company should thoroughly investigate the complaint and protect the individual from retaliation.

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