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Riot Games will pay $10 million to settle discrimination claim

Employers in New York and around the country may pay a steep price for discriminating against workers who are members of a protected class or allowing work environment to become toxic. The California-based video game publisher Riot Games was sued in November 2018 by two female workers who accused the company of treating women unfairly and turning a blind eye to harassment. Riot Games announced in August that it had settled the lawsuit, and several media outlets reported details of the settlement on Dec. 2.

The reports reveal that Riot Games has agreed to pay about $10 million to cover legal costs and compensate approximately 10,000 current and former female employees. The two women who initiated the litigation will each be paid $10,000. The remaining workers are expected to receive about $6.2 million. Temporary employees can expect to receive at least $500, and full-time workers will be paid at least $2,500. The workplace discrimination lawsuit was filed after a leading video game website published a scathing story about working conditions at the "League of Legends" publisher.

Riot Games has also agreed to change its corporate culture to prevent discrimination in the future. The company has hired a female diversity officer, and it has also vowed to take allegations of harassment more seriously and invest in training programs. Riot Games hopes to avoid further lawsuits and worker unrest. In May 2019, about 150 Riot Games employees walked out over a company policy that required workers to settle sexual harassment complaints through arbitration.

Employers may choose to settle discrimination and harassment matters discretely when the workers making the allegations have compelling evidence to back up their claims. Attorneys with employment law experience may advise workers who are considering such an action to make copies of demeaning emails or other company documents, take photographs of inappropriate materials in the workplace and keep a detailed record of unwelcome behavior that includes the names of all of the parties involved and any witnesses.

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