File photo courtesy: Wikipedia/Chris Yunker
League of Legends developer Riot Games will pay at least $10 million to women who worked at the company over the past five years following gender discrimination claims, according to legal documents reported by The Los Angeles Times.
According to the newly-filed documents, approximately 1,000 women employed by Riot Games between November 2014 and the date the settlement is finalized will be entitled to compensation. The amount each employee will receive depends on how long they worked at the company, and whether they were full-time or a contractor.
The suit was filed in November 2018 by two female employees of the LA-based studio sued over violations of the California Equal Pay Act, detailing allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
Before the lawsuit, a damning article was published on the games website Kotaku, with 28 current and former employees describing a prevalent and toxic “bro culture.”
“Among the people we spoke to, three women described being groomed for promotions, and doing jobs above their title and pay grade, until men were suddenly brought in to replace them,” reads an excerpt from the exposé.
“Both male and female sources have described seeing unsolicited and unwelcome pictures of male genitalia from bosses or colleagues. One woman saw an e-mail thread about what it would be like to “penetrate her,” in which a colleague added that she’d be a good target to sleep with and not call again.”
Women who spoke out faced retaliation, according to the lawsuit, including denial of promotions, reassignment, suspensions, and terminations.
In response to the allegations, Riot launched a series of internal investigations to fix the culture, but employees staged a walk-out in spring 2019 when Riot tried to push two cases into arbitration.
“We’re pleased to have a proposed settlement to fully resolve the class action lawsuit. The settlement is another important step forward, and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent,” a Riot spokesperson told the LA Times.
Riot, which is owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent, employed approximately 2,500 employees globally and garnered an estimated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2018.