RIOT GAMES REACHES GLOBAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH
DFEH, DLSE AND PLAINTIFFS IN 2018 CLASS-ACTION
GENDER DISCRIMINATION CASE
Company to Adopt Third-Party Monitoring and Pay $80 Million to Class Members
As Part of Holistic, Global Resolution
LOS ANGELES – Dec. 27, 2021 – Today, Riot Games announced that it has reached a global settlement agreement with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), and several private Plaintiffs to resolve the class-action gender discrimination litigation originally initated as “McCracken vs Riot Games” in 2018.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Riot will pay $80 million to the class, which encompasses all current and former full-time employees and temporary agency contractors in California who identify as women and worked anytime from November 2014 to present. The payment, which will resolve all claims, will be made to a settlement fund and distributed among the class as approved by the Court, pending court approval. An additional $20 million in attorneys’ fees and miscellaneous expenses is also contemplated in the agreement.
In an effort to drive ongoing transparency and accountability, Riot has also committed to having its internal reporting and pay equity processes monitored by a third party jointly approved by Riot and the DFEH for three years.
Final approval of the settlement by the court is pending, with a hearing expected in the coming months.
Riot Games is represented in this case by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. The Genie Harrison Law Firm APC and JML Law APLC represent the plaintiffs in the class.
Statement from Riot Games:
“Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we hadn’t always lived up to our values. As a company we stood at a crossroads; we could deny the shortcomings of our culture, or we could apologize, correct course, and build a better Riot. We chose the latter. We’re incredibly grateful to every Rioter who has worked to create a culture where inclusivity is the norm, where we’re deeply committed to fairness and equality, and where embracing diversity fuels creativity and innovation.
While we’re proud of how far we’ve come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past. We hope that this settlement 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.”
Statement from Genie Harrison Law Firm:
“This is a great day for the women of Riot Games – and for women at all video game and tech companies – who deserve a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination,” said Genie Harrison. “We appreciate Riot’s introspection and work since 2018 toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive company, its willingness to take responsibility for its past, and its commitment to continued fairness and equality in the future.”
Statement from JML Law:
“I’m honored to represent the resilient women of Riot Games and to help achieve this settlement on their behalf. We hope women everywhere take note and demand the fair pay and treatment to which they are entitled under the law,” said Joseph M. Lovretovich of JML Law.
Letter from Executive Team
CEO Nicolo Laurent and Riot executives shared the following letter with Rioters:
Three years ago, Riot was at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry. We had to face the fact that despite our best intentions, we hadn’t always lived up to our values. As a company we stood at a crossroads; we could deny the shortcomings of our culture, or we could apologize, correct course, and build a better Riot. We chose the latter. We’ve come a very long way since then – in our workplace, our processes, and our leadership – and we’ll continue that work every day. Today, we want to share another important step on that journey.
As many of you know, we’ve been in litigation since 2018 on a class action lawsuit around alleged gender discrimination and harassment at our company. In a few minutes, we’re announcing that Riot has reached a global settlement agreement with all parties involved, the private parties and two government agencies, totaling $80 million for the women of Riot (“the class”) plus $20 million in attorney’s fees and miscellaneous expenses. We’ve also committed to having our internal reporting and pay equity processes monitored by a third party jointly approved by Riot and the DFEH for three years. This settlement proposal was submitted to the Court for review and approval today.
We believe this is the right thing to do, for both the company and those whose experiences at Riot fell short of our standards and values. We also know it comes with a lot of questions, so we’d like to provide some background and insight into how we came to this resolution.
In 2019, we shared with Rioters that we reached a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs that all parties felt was fair. During that announcement, we outlined the steps we were taking to eliminate unacceptable behaviors and assured Rioters that, after opening our systems up to extensive third-party assessments, we felt confident the issues brought forth in the lawsuit were not systemic.
Today, our confidence remains the same, but the context around this suit is much different now – and much more complex:
- First, there are more parties involved. The California DFEH and California DLSE intervened in 2020 and objected to our original settlement with the plaintiffs, alleging that Riot should instead pay $400 million (a number we’ve always believed was unfounded and excessive). Since then, we’ve been in litigation with both the private class attorneys and the two government agencies.
- Second, new lawyers have entered the mix, seeking much larger settlement amounts and attorneys’ fees than discussed two years ago. The original plaintiffs’ attorney seeks to be paid out as well.
- And third, the size and breadth of the class has changed significantly. The class covers all current and former full-time employees and temporary agency contractors in California who identify as women and worked anytime from November 2014 to present – a number that has more than doubled as more women have joined Riot over the past several years.
As we considered a potential new settlement, it was important to take these changes into account.
Throughout this process, we’ve remained focused on our goal of finding a path for our company, including all current and past Rioters, to heal. Given the ambitious goals we have for Camp 2 and the tens of millions of dollars we’d spend each year on lawyers to help resolve these cases – money we’d rather pay to the women in the class and to invest in Riot’s future – it became clear during these past several months that the best outcome for everyone would be to come to a final resolution.
We also know that at the end of the day, this issue isn’t just about legal arguments – it’s about human beings and their individual experiences. While we’re proud of how far we’ve come since 2018, it’s important that we also take responsibility for our past. That began with an apology to Rioters because, despite our best intentions, we hadn’t always lived up to our values. We followed with significant upgrades to our People and D&I practices, and now, today, with a proposal for meaningful financial repair.
We hope this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot. We also hope it demonstrates our desire to lead by example in our industry, and symbolizes a moment where we move forward as a united company that always strives to do better for Rioters and players.
More details about the settlement will be communicated in the coming weeks, as we move through the Court approval process.
Before we close this out, we want to acknowledge that the timing of this announcement isn’t ideal. The final details of the agreement came together quickly, and we wanted you to hear about it from us directly rather than read about it in the news while on break. We also recognize how difficult this period of highly public litigation has been for Rioters and thank you for your patience. We’re incredibly grateful to every Rioter who has worked to create a culture where inclusivity is the norm, where we’re deeply committed to fairness and equality, and where embracing diversity fuels creativity and innovation.
Thank you again for your resilience throughout this journey, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us directly if you have questions. We will do our best to get back to you during the break.
Nicolo, Dylan, Emily, Angela and Dan