Riot Games Under Investigation by the State of California For Gender Discrimination [Update]

Riot Games has allegedly refused to cooperate with the state over an investigation into gender discrimination.

League of Legends developer Riot Games is in trouble with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing according to an investigation enforcement suit filed against the company. The DFEH is looking into whether the company discriminated against employees based on gender.

According to Kotaku, the DFEH is asking courts to make Riot give employee pay information as part of an "ongoing investigation into alleged gender discrimination." The DFEH is investigating the company for "alleged unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault, retaliation, and gender discrimination in selection and promotion."

The DFEH kicked off the investigation in October 2018 but has said that Riot "refused to provide the Department with adequate information for DFEH to analyze whether women are paid less than men at the company." Riot's refusal has led to the suit by the DFEH to force the company to give up this information.

The allegations against Riot that the DFEH is currently investigating are many of the same problems highlighted by Kotaku's report last year. The company has been accused of passing over women for promotions, paying them less than male counterparts, and fostering a sexist work culture.

Riot employees have been told that there will be changes made to the work culture, but a recent decision to not end forced arbitration clauses in existing employees' contracts resulted in a walkout of over 150 Riot employees. Five Riot employees are currently suing Riot for violating California's Equal Pay Act, and Riot has pursued forced arbitration against two of those five current and former employees.

Update: Riot has given USG a statement claiming the company has been cooperative with the DFEH's investigation, and expressed disappointment to see the Department claim otherwise. You can read the full statement below.

We’ve been in active conversations with the DFEH since its inquiry began. Investigations like this can arise when there have been allegations of workplace disparity and we’ve been cooperating in good faith with the DFEH to address its concerns. During this time, we’ve promptly responded to the DFEH’s requests, and have produced over 2,500 pages of documents and several thousand lines of pay data so far. We’ve also made several recent requests that the DFEH participate in a call with us to address their requests. To date, these requests have been unanswered, so we’re frankly disappointed to see the DFEH issue a press release alleging that we’ve been non-cooperative. We’re confident that we’ve made substantial progress on diversity, inclusion, and company culture, and look forward to continue demonstrating this to the DFEH.

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