Software company Riot Games is facing a class-action lawsuit for sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The company has responded with an amended list of core values and a transparent roadmap for improving the culture in the workplace.
The class action lawsuit was filed by one current and one former employee of Riot Games in early November. It alleged that the company practiced gender-based discrimination, denied equal pay, and stifled the careers for female employees. The lawsuit contends that Riot is in violation of California’s Equal Pay Act and retaliated against female employees that spoke out about the discrimination. The plaintiffs are requesting compensation from unpaid wages, punitive damages, statutory and civil penalties, in addition to legal fees.
Following the allegations, the company issued a statement in response to PC Gamer’s request for comment: “While we do not discuss the details of ongoing litigation, we can say that we take every allegation of this nature seriously and investigate them thoroughly. We remain committed to a deep and comprehensive evolution of our culture to ensure Riot is a place where all Rioters thrive.”
The wildly successful software company is not waiting to take action to address the negative publicity that a lawsuit like this can create. Riot is showcasing its efforts to evolve and better their workplace culture. Among the steps:
- Creating a web page to explain how it is working to evolve the company culture.
- Publicly outlining seven steps for moving forward, including an investigation process for submitting complaints, and outside consultants to help develop a process for rebuilding work-culture. A full list of the steps and a breakdown of them can be viewed here.
- Updating the company’s core values on its website for the first time since 2012.
Riot also provides a formal apology to employees that have had a negative work experience, reassuring potential new employees and partners that they are rebuilding the culture and that change is happening. Their comments in full can be read on their Our Steps Forward page.
Riot Games is moving aggressively to address the fall-out from a less-than-perfect corporate culture. It remains to be seen if Riot can weather this controversy. Other tech companies have found themselves under similar scrutiny for allegations of gender discrimination. For instance, Oracle is currently involved in lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Uber, under a recent $10 million legal settlement of a discrimination lawsuit, is required to undertake 20 new business practices under the heading of programmatic relief.