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.