Riot Games faces (and fights) gender discrimination allegations

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Riot Games, the developer of the hugely popular game League of Legends, has been hit with allegations of gender discrimination. The issue hit the gaming and tech industry with a particularly strong punch when workers staged a mass walkout in response to the company’s efforts to force at least two litigants into private arbitration.

Now it appears that it isn’t just employees who want answers. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is also asking a lot of questions. They’d like to see the company’s data on its payroll to determine whether Riot Games is paying female employees less than male employees for the same work. Riot Games has not been compliant with a voluntary request.

The next step will likely be court action to force the developer to give up the information DFEH is seeking as it looks into broad allegations regarding sexual harassment, unequal pay, gender discrimination, sexual assault and retaliation for complaints. DFEH has reportedly asked the court to enforce its investigative authority.

For its part, Riot Games claims that they promptly responded to DFEH’s requests and provided 2,500 pages of documentation. The company chastised the agency in a statement for claiming that they have been noncooperative.

In the meantime, employees within the company are pressing ahead with their efforts to gain more power from within. The whole situation has become a touchstone for labor rights within the gaming industry, which has historically been male-dominated. The litigation brought by these women may ultimately have a broad effect on the movement toward unionization in the video game industry as a whole.

Gender discrimination and harassment are never acceptable, especially in the workplace. If you’re facing this issue, you don’t have to face it alone. An attorney can help you understand your legal options.