Riot Games has taken multiple steps to ensure the studio betters itself following a scathing exposé that shed light on sexism, but that hasn’t satiated workers who are currently embroiled in a legal battle over gender discrimination. The developer has attempted to defend itself by highlighting that at least two of the women have supposedly waived their right to file a lawsuit against the company from within their contract.
Currently, five on-going cases are active against Riot Games, highlighting that the developer has repeatedly breached the California Equal Pay Act with its recruitment and promotion policies. Kotaku reports that the company is currently leaning on arbitration clauses to fight two of these cases, claiming that employees waived their right to legal action when they signed with the company.
These arbitration clauses are incredibly controversial with their design to “insulate corporations from legal scrutiny,” as many believe it to be a hindrance of progress. It might not be an automatic win for Riot Games however, as prosecutor Ryan Saba “believes there is precedent for obtaining a jury trial even when parties involved have signed arbitration clauses.”
Saba argues that arbitration clauses “only serve to silence the voices of individuals who speak out against such misconduct and demonstrate that the company’s words were no more than lip service.” Riot Games refuses to comment on matters while litigation continues, but has reiterated its “commitment to building and sustaining a world-class, inclusive culture.”
After these lawsuits were filed, Riot outlined its new company values alongside a roadmap of plans to improve. Alongside this, the studio has hired a number of notable people to help it on its journey, including former Uber vice president Frances Frei as the senior advisor Riot’s executive and cultural strike team and former Dropbox alum Angela Roseboro as its first ever chief diversity officer.
KitGuru Says: Personally, it doesn’t seem right to silence someone to poor internal practices before they’ve even begun fulfilling their role and I’m not sure why this practice is legally allowed. Any respect Riot had clawed back by facing the music and owning up to its mistake looks to be lost as a result.