Riot Games denies employee requests to end forced arbitration

Claims the company will create a council of diversity to review code of conduct.

League of Legends's Icon Alexander Lee · 17 May 2019


Image via Upcomer

Eleven days after Riot Games employees staged a walkout in protest of the company’s forced arbitration policy, Riot has refused to “change [its] employee agreements while in active litigation.”

This claim was made In a statement released yesterday evening following a town hall meeting with employees at the company’s Los Angeles office.

“We know not everyone agrees with this decision,” Riot wrote. “But, we also know everyone does want Riot to continue to improve.”

After a Kotaku report about Riot’s “culture of sexism” went viral last August, the League of Legends developer was slammed with a number of lawsuits from women who felt they were negatively impacted by the company’s sexist hiring practices, glaring gender pay gap, and rampant sexual harassment. In response, Riot used a clause in its employee contracts to push some of these cases into forced arbitration, which keeps the details from being made public.

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Employees then walked out on May 6 in an attempt to appeal both to Riot higher-ups and directly to the public in a series of heartfelt speeches. Prior to the walkout, Riot released a statement supporting employees’ right to protest, claiming that the company would “pivot” its approach to arbitration “as soon as active litigation is resolved.” Last night’s statement is consistent with Riot’s past statement, indicating that a policy change could be underway once the current lawsuits are resolved—but not before.

Though the employees currently embroiled in legal challenges against Riot will surely be disappointed by this news, Riot’s statement includes some encouraging information as well. The company said they will create a new council of diversity and inclusion in order to give employees a chance to review Riot’s code of conduct.

The protesters might not have achieved the outcome they wanted, but their efforts do appear to have brought some changes to Riot’s in-office culture.

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