The Los Angeles-based video game developer, Riot Games, has agreed to pay $100 million to settle a gender discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit, the largest settlement of its kind in the California Department of Civil Rights’ history.
The female employees who brought the case allege the company paid women less than similarly situated male employees. Additionally, the class alleged that Riot assigned women to less compensated jobs; promoted men more frequently than similarly situated women; and exposed employees to gender-based discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace.
The lawsuit cited examples of discrimination and harassment that went unaddressed such as:
- Requiring female workers to temporarily fulfill roles above their title and pay grade and then eventually hiring a man to fill the role.
- Firing two male workers who were vocal advocates of gender diversity in the workplace.
- Objectifying women, including keeping a list called, “Riot Games Hottest Women Employees.”
- Frequent sexual jokes about rape, masturbation and body parts.
- Requiring female workers to participate in online gaming where they were routinely subjected to harassment.
- Showing female workers photos of male genitalia.
- Talking over and ignoring female colleagues.
- Belittling female workers for having families or talking too much.
Guade Paez, the company’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, said, “This has been a long road for everyone involved, and we’re grateful to Rioters for their patience and support throughout this process. We’ve worked hard over the past several years to create a culture at Riot where inclusivity is the norm and embracing diversity fuels creativity, and we’re committed to making sure that remains true moving forward.”
The settlement includes a shocking $80 million for female employees and temporary contractors, plus injunctive relief. Payments range from $5,000 to $156,056, with an average estimated payment of $49,709 after fees.