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February 22, 2020
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California claims $10 million gender discrimination settlement lets Riot off lightly

California claims $10 million gender discrimination settlement lets Riot off lightly

January 22, 2020 | By Chris Kerr

January 22, 2020 | By Chris Kerr
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California state agencies claim a $10 million gender discrimination settlement proposed by Riot Games will let the studio off lightly.

Riot agreed the settlement in August 2019 after being hit with a lawsuit that alleged the League of Legends developer created, encouraged, and maintained a workplace that exposed its female employees to "discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of the gender or sex."

The suit was initially filed back in 2018, and came shortly after Kotaku published a feature that shone a spotlight on Riot's toxic studio culture. Since then, the company has been hit by staff walkouts, with employees downing tools last May in protest of forced arbitration clauses relating to sexual harassment claims. 

Upon agreeing the $10 million settlement, Riot said it was committed to "owning our past, and to healing the company so that we can move forward together." As reported by Bloomberg, however, California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing believes the settlement will massively undercompensate the plaintiffs, and won't give Riot any real incentive to change its ways.

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcements also objected to the payout, explaining it would ultimately allow Riot to get away with violating certain state labor codes. Both agencies have asked for the settlement deal to be rejected due to those concerns. 

As a result of the intervention, Riot and lawyers representing the plaintiffs have asked for a preliminary approval hearing to be postponed so they can address the state's concerns. Both will now attend a hearing on the state's filinings on January 31, resulting in the preliminary approval hearing being pushed back to February 3.



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