Riot says it will allow arbitration opt-outs, eventually, but it probably won’t stave off the walkout

    
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The continuing fiasco that is League of Legends’ Riot Games continues today, though today’s update is a good sign for workers at least. As Kotaku first reported, two of the Riot employees who had a filed class-action lawsuit against the studio were being thwarted by the studio, which was seeking to force them into arbitration instead; the lawsuits alleged violations of the California equal pay act and gender discrimination. That move, plus the prevailing belief that the studio isn’t moving fast enough on promised internal culture changes, led Riot employees to begin organizing a walkout – and Riot execs to make more promises about conversations and dialogue.

Apparently that dialogue was at least somewhat productive, as Riot seems prepared to make changes – but only far down the road. “We’ve made a call that we will pivot our approach,” Riot’s statement this afternoon reads. “As soon as current litigation is resolved, we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. At that time, we will also commit to have a firm answer around expanding the scope and extending this opt-out to all Rioters.”

It seems clear that means the people involved in “current litigation” and existing employees will not be allowed to opt out now and are still being stymied – and these potentially lengthy suits could mean it’ll be literally years before new and then current workers will be allowed to opt out. It sounds as if Riot recognizes its approach will not pacify its staff; it is still preparing for a walkout on Monday.

“We know that this resolution will not satisfy all Rioters. We understand and respect Rioters who choose to protest this decision on Monday, and admire their conviction and willingness to stand up for their beliefs.”

Riot does clarify that its current arbitration policies ensure arbitration paid for by Riot, with no confidentiality clause, no limit to damage, attorneys for representation, and a mutually agreed upon arbitrator, though of course we already have a theoretically neutral process for this and we call it the justice system. The company likewise posted an outline of its latest 90-day plan for revising its code of conduct, hiring diversity, anti-harassment training, and pay equity analysis.

Source: Riot via GIbiz
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Fervor Bliss

1) Give your employee’s some dignity and call them “employee’s” not “Rioters”. You are making a public statement not ordering drinks. (maybe you can’t tell the difference)

2) Please, Attorney General of California, bring some justice to this industry. Stop looking the other way because it’s only video games.

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Bruno Brito

2) Please, Attorney General of California, bring some justice to this industry. Stop looking the other way because it’s only video games.

I don’t know how the workings of justice are in the states, but isn’t this a bit of a farfetch? Gaming and entertainment industries have been on a free ride for ages.

Covynant001
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Covynant001

Unless this walkout is supported almost universally by the employees all it will do is label those who do not show as volunteers for corrective action in the future.

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Jack Kerras

Yuuuup.

Not participating in a walkout isn’t exactly being a scab, buuuuut in this case it’s close enough.

If you’re a Rioter, walk the fuck out.

Solidarity is what wins you bigger checks, longer vacations, better healthcare, and (God willing) bosses that don’t sexually harass you or anyone you know at work.

Even if this is not hitting you personally, it is worth walking out.

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Bruno Brito

Actually, that sounds good. If Riot actually go for corrective actions to these people after saying they “stand for their beliefs”, and these people actually scream fire on that crowded theater, Riot WILL have a huge shitstorm to deal with.

This is really good. Excluding a minority for fighting a fight everybody should will be a big stain on Riot’s portfolio. I hope more people speak up and realize how strong they actually are.

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Jon Wax

Once it’s dealt with, soon follows

“Oh by the way…all our games up going up $20-40 in cost”

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Bruno Brito

So? This is Riot. They have ONE game, a f2p-one. Who cares.

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Jack Kerras

Yeah, no it doesn’t.

That costs a TREMENDOUS amount of personal capital with one’s customers, for one thing, and for the second, Riot runs a F2P game with microtransactions.

Further: IT DOES NOT COST MORE TO TREAT PEOPLE WELL

IT COSTS LESS

A LOT LESS

Not crunching saves you AMAZING amounts of money on insurance premiums, power costs, sick leave, etc., etc. at large companies. Research on this score is incredibly strong, and it only matters more in low-cost/high-return situations like ‘stop fucking harassing people at work or be instantly fired, blacklisted, and replaced’.

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Jack Kerras

Here, we can all understand ‘allow opt-outs’ to mean ‘allow you to volunteer for preemptive downsizing when we’re about to make a decision which is unpopular with our employees.

No. Fucking. Forced. Arbitration.

That SCOTUS decision was a steaming pile of grade-A corporate-first American bullshit, and testing the line of precisely how far corporations can cut care and costs before the lawsuit payouts become greater than the savings is abusive fucking behavior, full stop.

The punishment for that is LAWSUITS, and with no teeth due to forced arbitration, it’s no punishment at all; they can easily find more starry-eyed newbie gamer fans to grind into a fine paste with their God-awful practices.

I’d say ‘the video game industry needs serious regulation and union activity’, but honestly, it’s just all of America at this point. Each and every one of us may as well be a wage-slave for how little we make and how much we work, even the folks who make a good living.

Our whole culture runs on exploitation and silencing tactics aimed at the people being exploited, and something has needed to be done since I was in school.

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Jack Kerras

(Now, this is not to say that arbitration is never of good use; it can be, when it’s used properly and by the people it’s meant to defend, IE folks who don’t have access to bajillions of dollars worth of lawyers, but even that has functionally been perverted beyond repair.)

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Anton Mochalin

((Deleted by mod. ))

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Bruno Brito

I don’t play LoL but I’m happy its employees are exploited in a proper way so that they make one of the greatest games at this moment.

What the fuck are you talking about. They’re being sexually harassed, you prick.

This isn’t for the public good, nothing League of Legends involved is for the “public good”. This game is a cesspool of toxicity that Riot never ever got hold of how to fix it. And they spent years selling a brand that now it’s clear they never even followed within the inner workins of their company.

There are orders of magnitude more gamers than videogame industry workers so this exploitation is for the public good.

There AREN’T orders of magnitude on the worths of people. Christ, are you drunk on gasoline? We live in a age where workers are being made to crunch time to deliver games within a unreasonable timeframes while they lose their paychecks, marriages or even fucking lives by overworking for a company who can fire 800 of them in a eyebat. These people bleed, sweat and tear themselves up for their jobs and you come right along saying we are worth more of them.

I hope Riot finds the most cost-efficient way to deal with this situation while continuing to provide the LoL community with proper service.

I honestly hope that you get help. This is one of the most disturbing and dehumanizing posts i’ve seen someone make, and i was here in the Karl_Hungus era. Christ fucking sake, what is wrong with you?

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Maggie May

You said it better than I could have, anyone who thinks that the police or courts is the way to go on this has no idea how difficult it is to bring a case to court and win it. What makes me laugh is how all of Riots efforts seem to be geared towards self-protection, not changing their toxic culture regarding their employees.

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Bruno Brito

Don’t expect multimillion dollar companies to effort themselves in their workers more than in protecting themselves from them.

It’s even more ironic when you realize that corporations wanted for a long time to have the same rights as people, yet they’re completely incapable of human empathy. Makes you think.

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StormKat

IKR! I read this and just shook my damn head. Having been at the receiving end of this behavior multiple times I wanted to scream. Thanks for saying what I wanted to say Bruno.

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Bruno Brito

Someone had to say it. I’m quite sick and tired of these privileged pricks who never ever cut grass or worked at minimum wage and slept three hours to avoid commutes and delays on their works and then think their opinions are worth a damn.

It’s clear Anton is not even a fucking Riot customer. He’s just a far-right moron.

Bree, you can clear my language, and i’ll accept it ( i realize that i’m being over the top here ), but i won’t apologize to him.

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silverlock

As a former victim of a non compete clause I fully support this statement.

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Jack Kerras

The Onion had a great article the other day about how an apartment complex’s non-compete clause meant that tenants aren’t allowed to live anywhere else within 90 days of moving out.

That shit made me laugh. Coming soon to a SCOTUS near you!

(to be clear, I have to laugh or else I’ll just let out a primal scream and eviscerate the next person that tells me exploitation is an appropriate way to treat your workers)

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Bruno Brito

eviscerate the next person that tells me exploitation is an appropriate way to treat your workers

You did see Anton’s posts, right?

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Jack Kerras

Oh, I did.

I believe I responded to that very one (which is as close as I can get to ‘eviscerating’ text-wise).

AWW. The post got deleted. :/

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TomTurtle

It still doesn’t sound like management has learned its lesson yet. I hope the employees go through with the walkout considering the underwhelming response.

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Nathan Aldana

Riot games, proving its possible to be more clueless of techbros than the guy who invented “Live water”

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Anton Mochalin

But they are still very good at making a videogame so I hope Riot finds a cost efficient way to deal with this situation so that we gamers can game on.

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Bruno Brito

But they are still very good at making a videogame

They made ONE which had meta problems ever since it’s inception. LoL is popular because it’s easy to enter, and it’s addictive. Dota 2 is WAY better game-wise.

I hope Riot finds a cost efficient way to deal with this situation

You care more about the money than about the people. My god, you really need help.

that we gamers can game on.

Do NOT bring us with you. Do NOT pretend our labels end at “gamers”. We don’t stop being people with resposabilities towards our next just because you wanna be a sociopathic prick. You don’t want to be enraged by Riot’s bs? Go ahead, but STEP aside. The people fighting tooth and nail to be respected as rank and file and they get buttswiped and cup-feeled at every corner don’t need your patronizing garbage.

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Bruno Brito

“We know that this resolution will not satisfy all Rioters. We understand and respect Rioters who choose to protest this decision on Monday, and admire their conviction and willingness to stand up for their beliefs.”

Sexual harassment isn’t a belief.

Maaaaaan, Riot really is playing with fire here.

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Anton Mochalin

If there was sexual harassment its victim should just call the police, I don’t get why Riot should even try to do the police’s job. They know they are better at making games than at law enforcement so they make the right choice.

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Nathan Aldana

because certainly,. one womans word vs the word of corporate executives is definitely something the police give a shit about.

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Anton Mochalin

((Deleted by mod. Stop trolling.))

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Bruno Brito

But then isn’t it better to put pressure on the government to have a better police?

Good luck with that.

As a part of gaming community I don’t like the risk of games being shut down or diminishing in quality because of some leftist activists accusing videogames companies instead of the police.

“Leftist activists”

They’re being fucking harassed. Christ.

If the police doesn’t work properly blame the police.

This isn’t a police issue. What the hell. This is a LEGAL issue.

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Utakata

I think you’ve got the tail wagging the dog there. As it appears to be employees who are doing the policing currently, as Riot isn’t doing enough about it.

And victim blaming. Cool story bro.

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Anton Mochalin

It’s not victim blaming. The law enforcement should be done by the police and the court. Blame the police and the court if they aren’t doing their job. As a gamer I need the videogame companies to focus on videogames, not on law enforcement.

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Bruno Brito

It’s not victim blaming.

Yes, it is.

The law enforcement should be done by the police and the court.

The police is a branch of the EXECUTIVE power, not the Judiciary. This entire debacle is a legal issue. It’s something to be resolved by judges, not police officers. And public shaming is a powerful tool to change public view, which is also powerful in trials.

Blame the police and the court if they aren’t doing their job.

I’m going to blame the company that let a dangerous culture rampant for so long. I’m not going to deflect blame just because your defective sense of empathy is claiming for it.

As a gamer I need the videogame companies to focus on videogames, not on law enforcement.

As a gamer, you embarass us all.

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Utakata

You seem to be asserting this with a degree of ignorance…

First, this does not appear to be a criminal matter so far but a civil one. In fact, many labor disputes are handled this way…until things get so out of hand, then police are than called in, often at the behest of the company to my understanding. Ie: If a fight breaks out in the picket line. So there’s that.

Secondly, pressing charges is not that simple at this point. The question becomes who is breaking the law and how. Again to my understanding, having a toxic work environment is not actually illegal.

Thirdly, then there is the onus of proof, which often falls to the employees who are less likely to cover legal fees verses a company that is often walled up to the nines with lawyers. Also see the legal maneuvering of Riot at the beginning of this article as a fine example of this. Do you think the employees would be in a position to take this up criminally? Non?

…so yes, it’s victim blaming by ignorance. As it is clear the workers who are most affected by this are doing what they can to deal with this. And you are clearly not acknowledging that. But you want them the focus making video games that requires you to acknowledge that. Because who in their right mind can make a quality product under such shitty circumstances? Is it not that obvious?

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Nathan Aldana

got it, so you;re a troll.

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mike foster

hoooo boy

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

I’m confident that these initiatives will have positive results on the quality of game development and product satisfaction among their consumers.

HAH!

I just hope Ghostcrawler is having a good time. I can’t wait to see who tears the studio apart faster, the management or the employees.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Maybe he can write an inciteful blog post called Corporate Sexual Discrimination Is Hard?

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Jack Kerras

If that weird spelling was intentional, it’s brilliant. <3

(if it's not intentional, it's just unintentionally brilliant)

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Unintentional, oh man I see what you’re talking about and now I wish I had meant it (incite as opposed to insight).

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Jack Kerras

Here’s the deal: the spirit of language entered you for a blindingly wonderful moment.

It happens sometimes. It takes practice to be a better vessel, but nobody gets to choose when it happens to them. <3

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Utakata

You’d expect if someone isn’t pissing in the employees’ cornflakes, they would less likely feel the need to piss in everyone else’s.

As for GC, since he hasn’t been sited as one of the perps in this, I am pretty sure he’s doing okay under the circumstances. /shrug

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Anton Mochalin

Right now LoL is #2 top grossing PC game so it’s likely you need to wait for a little while before Riot is “torn apart”.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

You know I was about to come back with a snappy gotcha comment but after skimming this article again https://massivelyop.com/2019/04/23/superdata-march-2019-the-division-2s-strong-entry-and-the-dominance-of-battle-royale/ it turn’s out you are correct.

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Utakata

Their position on standings has really nothing to do with how long they have to wait it to be “torn apart”. Since Riot seems to be acting on this, suggests some tears in their fabric are already occurring. So lol, indeed.

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Anton Mochalin

Since Riot seems to be acting on this

What Riot does is just some normal PR and HR work – try to listen to the other side and see what can be done. Even in case of false accusations it’s a better PR practice to start a dialogue which they do. Moreover that’s what they did when the first discussions of their “corporate culture” began. Any mature company would do that. Their actions are more like signs of a healthy company.

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Anton Mochalin

Utakata, I would like to thank you for your effort to explain your point of view on why you think I’m “victim blaming” – Bree closed further commenting on that thread so I have to respond here so please everyone excuse me for clarifying my point of view here:

What I say is not victim blaming but you would be right to blame me for not being clear enough. What I’m trying to do is to defend Riot which I think should not be blamed for any sexual harassment on the workplace if there was any. Companies should focus on what their structure is built upon – providing products and services to the customers and making profit for the owners/shareholders. Companies are formal structures and they are good when the structure serve its function well. And companies’ function is commercial. We should definitely blame the individual harassers. Maybe we should find other institutions that should defend sexual harassment victims – maybe it should be state (“police”) or something else – maybe we need to create such institutions to serve that function well. The problem is that it’s easy to blame Riot in the public discourse because everyone heard of Riot. Only a few remember the name of its CEO and no one I guess heard of its COO before Riot’s investigation about him allegedly harassing his colleagues. So it’s easy to say “let’s do some harm to Riot’s name for their bro culture” because it’s easy to harm Riot’s name – it does have a name in the first place. I don’t think that’s fair and it’s definitely not efficient for the public good to burden the companies with policing their employees’ behaviour. We should find a better way to do this without hurting the companies because customers’ and shareholders’ interests should also be taken into account. Riot said the right thing about “we respect their right to protest on Monday” and I would also say yes I respect you having another point of view but I don’t think it’s right and I hope I can defend it in this discussion.

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Bruno Brito

Utakata, I would like to thank you for your effort to explain your point of view on why you think I’m “victim blaming” – Bree closed further commenting on that thread so I have to respond here so please everyone excuse me for clarifying my point of view here:

There’s a reason why Bree locked out commenting. It’s because she’s sick and tired, as are us all, of your pointless partisanship, victim blaming and overall sociopathy.

I justy reported your post, AGAIN. Stop this train already. This topic is done.