Riot’s $100 Million Gender Discrimination Settlement Is Being Awarded To Over 1,000 Women

Last Friday a California judge approved the $100 million gender discrimination settlement by Riot Games, and beyond the substantial payouts, there are other conditions the games company has to abide by. It is a major turning point for the male-dominated industry as the settlement sends a clear signal that such discrimination will be penalised – in California at least.

The settlement requires payments from the thousands to the tens of thousands of dollars, distributed to more than 1,000 women who worked fulltime at Riot Games since 2014. In addition, more than 1,000 contractors are set to receive the compensation. But that's not all.

The settlement also requires Riot to implement an independent monitor to investigate any pay disparities, with the company having to act on its findings. In addition Riot must implement three years of oversight at the company (via Axios).

Riot must also employ up to forty of its qualified female temporary workers in fulltime roles in its engineering, art design, and quality assurance departments.

"My hope is that this serves as a wake-up call for the whole industry," former Riot worker, and one of the plaintiffs, Jes Negrón told Axios. "We've set a precedent that the sexist behavior that runs rampant at gaming companies is unacceptable and, when companies are unwilling to address it themselves in a meaningful way, women have options to get justice".

In December, when announcing the settlement, Riot said that it hoped it "properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry".

The settlement, and the significant sum attached to it, was a major win for California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). An original settlement between the plaintiffs and Riot was agreed for $10 million in 2019, but the DFEH considered the deal unsatisfactory and eventually got Riot to raise the amount.

While women have spoken out about the discrimination and abuse they face in the games industry, legal consequences for this behaviour and treatment were uncommon. Hopefully, the massive settlement should go some way towards improving the matter.

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