Riot Games is being sued by the state of California for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and pay decisions, according to a recently discovered document.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) litigation notice was spotted by a Reddit user (thanks, PC Gamer), and the class case is “not subject to arbitration. It is proceeding in court now, and any class member can participate in it”.
According to the notice, Riot Games violated the law in multiple different ways including “gender discrimination in hiring, pay and promotion decisions and sexual harassment,” – the DFEH is also the agency suing Activision Blizzard on behalf of employees as well.
As the DFEH case is not subject to arbitration, it will progress “without further delay” and the litigation document states that “women who signed arbitration agreements or other agreements cannot be excluded from the government’s case.”
“It is unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you for speaking to the government, or otherwise participating or cooperating in a government proceeding,” the document adds.
Kotaku wrote in 2018 about the “culture of sexism at Riot Games,” and what soon followed was a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court which alleged that women had been “denied equal pay and found their careers stifled because they are women,” and were victim to sexual harassment and misconduct.
That currently ongoing legal action is separate to the this one filed by the DFEH, and settling the DFEH one without arbitration means that it won’t take place outside a judiciary court, unlike the previous suit from 2018 which could entitle the plaintiffs to £288million ($400million).
Riot Games are now facing multiple cases of legal action, one private and the other at state level. A Riot Games representative told PC Gamer that the studio has little to say on the action from the DFEH, and that “the truth is that we see it as a legal matter dealing with the past and our team outside of legal is much more focused on the future.”
In other news, Activision Blizzard has hired a legal firm known for union-busting to investigate the current sexual harassment claims. WilmerHale, the firm in question, is known for working with Amazon when workers demanded better pay and working conditions.