On Friday, July 22, a California judge preliminarily approved a $100 million settlement between Riot Games and the women who sued the League of Legends developer on the grounds of gender discrimination.
Via a report from Axios, the court’s sign-off means that the aggrieved women will finally receive material restitution. The payout will be thousands of dollars for both current and former Riot employees who worked at the company from November 2014 to December 2021. Those eligible for the payout will receive notice by the end of August, according to the court. The settlement has further conditions. Riot has agreed to three years of independent oversight to address pay disparities and other means of discrimination. The settlement also means that Riot will hire 40 of its female contractors full-time.
The lawsuit began in 2018 after reports of a sexist work culture became public. Riot originally settled for $10 million dollars in December 2019, but a new team of lawyers withdrew that settlement shortly thereafter, demanding a higher payout. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) also objected, calling the initial settlement “rushed.” The $100 million settlement was announced last year, but had yet to be approved.
The settlement has been a long time coming and has arrived during other public reckonings in the games industry. In 2021, the DFEH sued Activision Blizzard on a similar basis to the Riot lawsuit, claiming the massive publisher had cultivated a sexist work culture. The lawsuit kicked off employee walkouts and unionization efforts from Raven QA staff and Blizzard Albany. Most recently, Blizzard employees walked out on July 21, 2022 to protest Blizzard’s healthcare policies.