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League of Legends developer and publisher Riot Games has agreed to pay a (shared) $10 million settlement to every woman who's worked at the company in the last five years. This comes after a class action lawsuit was filed by female employees of Riot - past and present - over accusations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the company.
The Los Angeles Times was first to report that Riot intended to compensate around 1,000 women who worked at the company between November 2014 and the present. The amount each woman receives will apparently be based on their time at the company.
Court documents show that Jessica Negron and Gabriela Downie, the two class representatives, will each get $10,000. Roughly $6.2 million is expected to be handed out to other employees, after attorney costs and other court fees. The filing suggests that most members of the lawsuit could get at least $5,000. Temporary contractors who worked with Riot should get at least $500.
Riot was sued back in 2018 by multiple employees who were either still present at, or had been with the company. This came after an explosive investigation by Kotaku in which over two dozen Riot employees came forward to reveal the "bro culture" at the company.
According to the report, female employees were often the target of harassment and sexism, even being passed over for promotions based on their gender. The suit, which was originally filed in November last year, also described how male employees were often paid more than female employees in similar roles. At that time, it was reported that 80 percent of the staff at Riot were male.
What followed was a rough few months for Riot Games. One that included plenty of bad press, and even a mass walkout at the company in the spring of 2019. It wasn't until August that Riot announced that it would be settling the suit, though it didn't reveal the specifics of the deal at that time.
According to the women's legal representative, "a number of significant changes to the corporate culture have been made, including increased transparency and industry-leading diversity and inclusion programs."
This included investing more time and resources into seriously investigating complaints and training employees, as well as hiring a Chief Diversity Officer for the company.
When asked about the settlement, a Riot spokesperon said in a statement: "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."
Speaking to GAMINGbible in July, Riot Games' Leanne Loombe, Executive Producer and the head of Riot Labs at the studio's Los Angeles headquarters suggested that everyone at the company was working "every day" to improve things.
"Every day at Riot, we're working on things that improve the company," she explained. "But then, as do all companies - in the games industry, or any other entertainment industry, you have to make sure that everyone who works there is happy. I love Riot, and I get on, and I do my job, and do the best for the players, basically."
Hopefully this settlement and the new measures implemented by Riot can start to bring about real change. Not just for the staff at the League of Legends publisher, but for the games industry as a whole. We'll have to wait and see.
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