THE Riot Games agreed to pay $100 million (more than R$562 million) on behalf of a gender discrimination process, started in 2018 by former employees of the company. Of this amount, R$ 450 million will be distributed to people who identify themselves as women and who worked at Riot between November 2014 and the present day. These must demand your share.
In 2019, Riot reached an agreement to pay R$56 million to close the process, but a department in California intervened and blocked the agreement, demanding a higher amount. Last Monday (27), the department published the new agreement with the company.
With the new arrangement, Riot agrees to work on policies to improve the work environment and also make a million dollar reserve to make payment adjustments and create diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
Genie Harrison, the attorney who represented the employees in the case, entered into the settlement. “This is a great day for the women of Riot Games – and for the women of every video game and technology company – who deserve a workspace free of harassment and discrimination. We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 to become a more inclusive and diverse company.”
Riot Games also commented on the deal. Check out the statement sent to The Washington Post below. Mais Esports contacted Riot, who stated that the official statement is:
“Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. We had to face the fact that, regardless of our best intentions, we can’t always stick to our values. As a company, we are at an intersection. We could deny the shortcomings of our culture, or we could apologize, correct, and build a better Riot. We chose the second option. While we’re proud of how far we’ve come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past. We hope that this agreement duly recognizes these [funcionárias] who had negative experiences at Riot”.
The process of gender discrimination
In November 2018, Riot was sued by an employee and a former employee for gender discrimination. The women claimed compensation for a series of illegal practices related to sexism that took place at the company.
The developer was accused of violating California state law – which guarantees equal wages to men and women in the same position -, as well as committing acts of sexual harassment and retaliation for gender and gender bias.
The article features cases such as “bro culture”, which privileges male employees and relativizes offensive behavior towards women within the company. There is also the concept of “core gamer”, in Portuguese the “real gamer”. According to the court case, Riot used as a criterion to be a video game fan, which was used to discriminate against women in the process of selecting new entrepreneurs.
Another complaint from the plaintiffs was about the sexualization and objectification of women. They cite emails ranking female employees by physical attributes, in addition to being coerced into participating and tolerating jokes about sex, defecation, masturbation, rape, and torture.
Lawsuit against the CEO of Riot Games
In February 2021, VICE Games published that Nicolo Laurent, CEO of Riot Games, is being sued for harassment by former assistant, Sharon O’Donnell. The lawsuit claims that Nicolo Laurent was talking about the appearance of the now former assistant, as well as inviting her to his home.
The lawsuit also alleges that the CEO of Riot Games claimed that female employees should combat the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by having children, and he also suggested that his assistant should behave more femininely.
The document informs that, when Sharon refused Laurent’s abuse, she suffered punishments such as: Not being paid for both the hours worked and the overtime, in addition to missing her lunch break.
To VICE, Riot said it is investigating the allegations and kept Nicolo Laurent in charge. “Our CEO has promised full collaboration throughout the process and we are committed to ensuring that all claims are fully explored and properly resolved,” says the developer.
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