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Riot Games still seeking individual arbitration over gender discrimination class action settlement

Riot Games is attempting to shift gears in its ongoing gender discrimination lawsuit.


Updated at 12:06 p.m. PT on 1/29/21 - Riot Games reached out to Shacknews and gave the following statement:

"On Monday our Motion to Compel was granted and our arbitration agreements were once again upheld by the court. There were claims outside the scope of this motion which Riot never attempted to compel to arbitration, such as government and government-adjacent PAGA claims, which remain in court.

This ruling will allow us to reach a fair and speedy resolution to these individual cases, some of which have already been pending for more than two years. We have always been, and will continue to be, willing to engage in constructive dialogue to bring these matters to resolution as quickly as possible -- so long as the resolution is grounded in the facts of these cases.

Notably, unlike some arbitration agreements, the agreements between Riot and its employees have no confidentiality clauses, which means plaintiffs can talk about their suit in the same ways they could in court. In addition, both parties must agree on the arbitrator, who is typically a retired judge. Either party can reject an arbitrator — for example, based on their history of past cases — and the case will not proceed until a mutually agreeable arbitrator is selected. All of the same remedies available to individuals through a court trial are available through arbitration, which means there is no cap on total potential damages awarded, or the types of damages awarded.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve established new and updated policies and programs to promote inclusion in day-to-day life at Riot and help rebuild trust, increased diversity in our leadership team and across the company, continued to take action to ensure we are equitable to all Rioters, and established new recruiting and hiring processes to better meet our goals and improve candidate experiences. While we know we still have work to do, we’re confident in the strides we’ve made towards our ultimate goal of becoming the most inclusive company in gaming. We pledged early on to be transparent about our progress and more details on our progress can be found in our latest diversity and inclusion progress report, an updated version of which will be released in the coming months as a new annual report."

Riot Games came under fire back in 2018 when reports of gender discrimination rose against the company. Several women at the company came forward to share stories of mistreatment during their time at Riot Games. This led to Riot Games being sued by a number of past and present employees. In 2019, it was stated that Riot would pay $10 million in a settlement, but it looks like the company is changing course. New reports state that Riot Games is now seeking individual arbitration from the plaintiffs.

Riot Games met in court with the plaintiffs once again this week to see if courts would waive the mandatory individual arbitration clause featured in most of the women’s contracts with Riot. If the mandatory individual arbitration clause is not waived, Riot Games will be able to settle will the plaintiffs privately outside of court.

Of course, Riot Games’ push for arbitration is being met with backlash. Genie Harrison, the plaintiff’s counsel, spoke on the move. “Now that Riot knows it can’t settle the case on the cheap, it wants to force Riot women into arbitration, preventing the women from fighting together as a group against the company.”

Harrison also cautioned what would happen if Riot is successful in moving the case to individual arbitration. "If Riot succeeds, it will pay a private judge huge amounts of money to decide the fate of the women's claims. And all that will happen in secret, with Riot's discriminatory conduct hidden from the public."

This all goes back to the allegations made against Riot Games in 2018, where numerous women shared stories of harassment and mistreatment during their time at the video game studio. For future updates on the story, visit the Riot Games topic page on Shacknews.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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