Pokemon Go studio Niantic stands accused of sexual discrimination and retaliation in new lawsuit


Pokemon Go’s Niantic has fast become one of the more problematic companies we cover, and now the studio’s outlook just got even shadier as it’s been hit with a lawsuit from a former employee who accused it of operating as a “boy’s club.”

The lawsuit accuses Niantic of violating multiple employment laws, ranging from violations of equal pay laws and discrimination to retaliation and engendering a hostile work environment. The unnamed Jane Doe alleges that when she learned she was being underpaid compared to lower-ranking male staffers (unequal pay, discrimination), she reported it to Niantic’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director and Principal People Partner, who downplayed her concerns about discrimination and told her that she was being dinged specifically because she had been discussing pay ranges within the company’s women’s resources group, Wolfpack (retaliation).

Wolfpack, incidentally, ran a survey among staffers and found that a majority of workers polled were likewise concerned about sexism and equal pay within the company; according to the lawsuit, Niantic responded by suppressing unflattering parts of the report and blocking future surveys without upper-management’s say-so, creating a very clear picture of the situation from the C-suite on down (hostile workplace).

Niantic’s been in the news dozens of times in the past couple of years, most recently for laying off 230 workers and closing multiple games while suggesting it had kept high-performers, thereby implying those let go weren’t committed enough to the company and eliding the shockingly terrible mismanagement currently plaguing the studio’s cash cow, Pokemon Go. The complainant in the lawsuit was among those let go, as she apparently worked in the LA office, which was shuttered entirely.

Pokemon Go studio Niantic is considered a controversial gaming company owing to multiple scandals and deceptions, starting with the Wi-Spy privacy scandal; over the years, it’s repeatedly failed to secure player data, endangered players during the pandemic, and refused to address documented stalking in POGO. It also rolled back popular accessibility features to incentivize data collection, faked data, and lied about event results. Following 2021’s community-driven Pokemon No boycott, Niantic vowed transparency and communication; it has not delivered.
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