Note: We have updated the headline of this story to make it clearer than the lawsuit Riot is under, although ongoing, date of 2018. The previous headline read, "It turns out Riot Games is also being sued by the same agency as Activision Blizzard."
Riot Games is being sued by the state of California for allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation against employed women. On February 3, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Division of Labor Standards Compliance issued a document judicial notice as for Riot Games. The notice states that Riot Games violated the law in "multiple ways": gender discrimination in hiring, compensation and promotion decisions; sexual harassment; and retaliation.
The presentation was seen by a Reddit user on Tuesday, in light of DFEH’s recent lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.
It also states that "women who signed arbitration agreements or other agreements cannot be excluded from the government case. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for speaking to the government or for participating in or cooperating in a government procedure ".
Riot employees took legal action for gender discrimination in 2018. The class action lawsuit, independent of the DFEH lawsuit, alleged so much systemic sexism that women employees were not allowed to advance in the their professional careers, or specific cases of harmful behavior, including the use of degrading language aimed at women and male employees who send unsolicited images of their genitals to their colleagues. The original complaint also cites that "(a) a former male employee was allowed to remain in a leadership position despite having regular sexual comments in the workplace and drugging and raping another Riot Games employee."
DFEH’s specification that arbitration agreements cannot be excluded from a government proceeding is significant, because the lawsuit filed by Riot employees in 2018 was made more complicated by arbitration agreements of some of Riot’s employment contracts. the women. This was executed by a judge at Riot's request in January this year, despite the possibility that this would be done. the previous provision to establish it would have denied it. Arbitration agreements in employment contracts require workers to waive their rights to litigation in favor of arbitration: a process in which disputes are resolved privately, without the judgment of a court.
Employee lawsuits have been filed by law firm Genie Harrison since a change of representation last year. Harrison confirms that the lawsuit against Riot Games is still ongoing, despite the ruling on the arbitration: "The cases against Riot continue. We continue to litigate the class action against Riot, the PAGA claims against Riot and now there are additional individual arbitrations on behalf of women who signed forced arbitration agreements ”. There are several gears underway, including the Riot arbitration cases that are being prepared. "The class action / PAGA case remains in the Los Angeles County Superior Court and is under investigation, meaning filings are being taken and documents are being exchanged. Several cases have already been filed. "Separate arbitration and proceed to the discovery. We will soon file additional arbitration cases."
While the employee case continues, video game and intellectual property lawyer Kellen Voyer does not believe it is necessary for the DFEH case to go to court. "Normally, the parties will be installed once the defendant has a better idea of the evidence provided by the state and the strength of his case. The current negative press generated by each case is another reason why companies will not want to go through a lengthy public rehearsal, given the continued damage to their brands and the additional impact this could have on hiring new talent. "
In any case, Riot is studying multiple lawsuits, both at the private and state levels. A Riot spokesman said the study at the time "doesn't have much to say about the state of affairs with the DFEH." The representative added: "The truth is that we see it as a legal issue dealing with the past and our out-of-legal team is much more focused on the future."
We have contacted the DFEH to comment and we will update if we receive news.