Riot Games Won't Change Current Employee Arbitration Clause Despite Walkout

In spite of employee discontent, Riot won't change its current employees' contracts.

Last Monday, Riot Games employees walked out to demonstrate their frustrations with the company, citing a controversial forced-arbitration clause built into existing Riot employee contracts. Today, Riot Games has announced that despite these demonstrations, it won't change employee agreements.

"Ultimately, given the complexities of ongoing litigation, we will not change our employee agreements while in active litigation," the company said in a blog posted today. "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."

Riot said that "at a minimum," it will give new employees an opt-out of arbitration "on individual sexual harassment claims." The company also reiterated its ongoing goals for diversity and inclusion.

Employee action has been driven, according to one walkout organizer, by general issues of sexual harassment and discrimination uncovered by a report from Kotaku last year.

The Kotaku report detailed a culture where women employees, both former and current, was dominated by male supervisors. Specific incidents include overlooking contributions, questioning credentials, and sexist comments from bosses and peers.

Since the report, five current and former Riot Games employees have filed lawsuits against the company. But a forced arbitration clause is baked into Riot employee contracts, preventing them from taking their suits to public court. Google employees held a walkout over a similar forced arbitration clause earlier this year, a battle they eventually won.

While Riot Games has taken notice of the walkout, its statement today ends on a perfunctory note: "Rioters are passionate and to meet our goals as one team, we need to channel that passion into productive dialogue that accelerate progress and drive change—or at a minimum, mutual understanding."

Tagged with Legal, MOBA, News, PC, Riot Games.

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