One current and one former employee for League of Legends publisher Riot Games have filed a class action lawsuit against the company, citing gender discrimination and a “men first” environment.
The employees are asking for compensation on unpaid wages, damages, and other penalties. An exact amount is to be determined at trial.
They also ask the court to certify the suit as class action, meaning the plaintiffs will be taking action as a group, not individually, Kotaku reports.
The lawsuit claims:
Like many of Riot Games’ female employees, Plaintiffs have been denied equal pay and found their careers stifled because they are women. Moreover, Plaintiffs have also seen their working conditions negatively impacted because of the ongoing sexual harassment, misconduct, and bias which predominate the sexually-hostile working environment of Riot Games.
The complaint also alleges that Riot violated California’s Equal Pay Act and law against gender-based discrimination at the workplace. This lawsuit comes months after Kotaku published a detailed investigation into the apparent culture of sexism at Riot Games.
Riot Games has responded to the lawsuit, saying:
While we do not discuss the details of ongoing litigation, we can say that we take every allegation of this nature seriously and investigate them thoroughly. We remain committed to a deep and comprehensive evolution of our culture to ensure Riot is a place where all Rioters thrive. We’ve shared our progress here.
There are currently 2,500 employees at Riot. 80 percent of them are male.
Riot Games apologised to staff and promised to make sweeping changes to the company in light of Kotaku’s report, the publication says that a number of those accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour are in fact still employed at Riot.
With that said, Kotaku do also report that Riot has shown the door to many of the people who were accused of contributing to the toxic culture at the company.
Jessica Negron – who contributed to Kotaku’s original report and is the former employee involved with the lawsuit – alleges that shortly after she was hired, her manager quit and she took on those duties without any rise in pay or change in title.
Negron claims in the lawsuit that she was paid $56,000, despite the fact that she was doing the work of a male colleague who had been paid $160,000. She also alleges that she was passed over repeatedly for the same position that she was already performing.
Meanwhile, the current Riot employee Melanie McCracken involved in the lawsuit has worked at Riot since 2013. She alleges that she’s been denied promotions, refused compensation, and punished by male leaders.
Back in 2016 she received a promotion to a senior job. After being reassigned to report to a man she had previously complained about for inappropriate behaviour, she claims she was given five months to find another job at Riot or be fired.
In 2017, McCracken was promoted to a position where she worked for Riot Games’ top three leaders, COO Scott Gelb, CEO Nicolo Laurent and president Dylan Jadeja. She reportedly saw a video of Gelb – along with two other colleagues – at a dance club in Shanghai with some “scantily clad” girls.
The video in question spread throughout the workplace, and McCracken alleges she was was blamed and punished for it.