As we’ve previously covered, employees of the League of Legends studio Riot Games walked out last week in protest over the company’s labor and harassment policies. The company had attempted to force multiple employees seeking to sue over alleged gender discrimination into private arbitration, leading employees to agitate for change. Riot initially promised that as soon as the “current litigation” was over, it would “give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims” and only then determine whether that opt-out would apply to everyone, meaning that current employees could be waiting years for relief, and those currently suing would continue to be shunted to arbitration.
It doesn’t sound as if Riot got the message from the walkout, whose organizers picked May 16th as Riot’s deadline to abandon forced arbitration, as the company’s most recent statement reaffirms its commitment to do basically nothing and not budge an inch while there’s a class action lodged against it.
“Ultimately, given the complexities of ongoing litigation, we will not change our employee agreements while in active litigation. We know not everyone agrees with this decision, but we also know everyone does want Riot to continue to improve. We remain committed to having a firm answer around extending an opt-out to all Rioters when active litigation concludes. Everything we’ve heard will impact our discussions when we revisit arbitration and we hope to have an answer that will be satisfying to everyone. At a minimum, we will give new Rioters the option to opt out of arbitration on individual sexual harassment claims.”
That said, Riot has been quick to assure its employees that it wants to continue to facilitate discussions on diversity and inclusion. It says it’s created a D&I Rioters Council, whose job is to proactively take actions that will share different perspectives, create change, and identify barriers and opportunities to move forward in diversity, inclusion, and culture. Secondly, a diverse group of Riot employees has reportedly been invited to express concerns about the company’s Code of Conduct. The idea is that this group will directly facilitate the changes the employees wish to see instead of Riot mandating a code without employee input. Lastly, Riot claims that it is on track with its 30-60-90-day goals, outlining the progress in an infographic.
Of course, it’s not over yet. “We’re disappointed leadership doesn’t seem to be considering any major changes to their active policy. That said, we’re blown away by the passion, solidarity, and vulnerability that workers who support the walkout are showing,” one walkout organizer representative told Kotaku. “As we continue to pressure Riot to end forced arbitration, we are leveraging that teamwork and solidarity by involving more coworkers in the effort.”
Further reading on the Riot Games fiasco: