Riot Games reaches $10 million settlement in gender discrimination class action

LOS ANGELES — Video game developer Riot Games will pay out $10 million following the settlement of a class action discrimination lawsuit against the company, according to court documents filed Monday in advance of their Wednesday court date.

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The settlement will give plaintiffs Jessica Negron and Gabriela Downie $10,000 each, which is the highest payout for a member of the class action, in addition to any other proposed payouts from the lawsuit itself. The net settlement proceeds following these payouts, legal fees and litigation costs are estimated at $6,201,666.67. This amount will be distributed among the members of the class action depending on tenure and employment contract status.

“This is one of the largest settlements in the State of California history for gender inequality,” Ryan Saba, partner at Rosen Saba LLP, said in a statement. Rosen Saba has represented the plaintiffs since the class-action lawsuit was filed on Nov. 5, 2018. “This shows that Riot is serious about changing the culture at the company.”

“We are pleased that a proposed settlement to fully resolve the class action lawsuit against Riot was filed recently by plaintiffs’ counsel,” Riot Games Corporate Communications Lead Joe Hixson added in a separate statement. “The settlement is another important step forward and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent.”

On Aug. 7, 2018, Kotaku reporter Cecilia D’Anastasio published the personal accounts of more than 20 Riot Games employees on the “bro culture” inside Riot. It detailed systemic gender discrimination inside the company’s cultural framework as well as direct individual accounts of more blatant sexual harassment and discrimination. In the aftermath, Riot pledged to undergo internal changes to its company culture. This included hiring Frances Frei, who was lauded for her work at Uber in cleaning up similar internal company issues, to the company’s new Diversity and Inclusion and Culture Strike Team, and later Angela Roseboro as Riot Games’ first chief diversity officer.

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