Riot Games calls $400 million lawsuit claim “wholly unsound”

Riot Games calls $400 million lawsuit claim “wholly unsound”
Imogen Donovan Updated on by

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Riot Games countered the claim that the women suing the company may in fact be owed $400 million, calling the conclusion “reckless, misleading, and wholly unsupported.” (via PCGamesN). 

In 2018, a class action lawsuit was levelled against the League of Legends developer and publisher for encouraging a “sexually-hostile working environment” that “rewards behaviour that disadvantages women.” The plaintiffs claimed that their treatment at Riot Games broke the Equal Pay Act and they sought “compensation on unpaid wages, damages, and other penalties” as a result. The company said that it was “cooperating in good faith” regarding the lawsuit, and that it will pay every female employee a portion of a $10 million fund to settle the lawsuit.

Recently, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and also the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement reported that they found the settlement wanting. Citing the gender pay gap between Riot Games employees, they said that the plaintiffs may actually be owed “over $400 million” instead of the $10 million determined in the summer of 2019. Riot Games has rejected this claim. In court papers, the company explained that “the DFEH’s claim that the ‘maximum exposure in back pay owed to female employees alone exceeds $400m’ is outrageous, reckless, and without any basis in fact or law. Indeed, there are numerous methodological deficiencies in how the DFEH reaches this number, each of which makes the ultimate conclusion wholly unsound.”

Riot Games accused the two state agencies of generating “a clickbait number designed to get attention,” forgoing the best interests of the plaintiffs, and misunderstanding “an appropriate measure of pay disparity.” The DFEH also stated that the settlement has “no enforceable changes to employment policies, at a company alleged to be rife with sexism.” Riot Games rebuked this claim too, saying that “this not only presumes systematic discrimination—which Riot continues to strongly deny—but ignores the many significant steps Riot has taken to improve employees’ experiences since the filing of this action in 2018.”

On January 31, there will be a hearing to decide whether the DFEH and the DLSE have the right to weigh in on the lawsuit, and if permitted, the $10 million settlement will be refused. “We are particularly dismayed that the filing downplays and ignores the efforts we have made with respect to diversity, inclusion, and culture over the past 18 months. We look forward to making our case to the Court,” said Riot Games’ Joe Hixson.