On Friday, Kotaku reported that Riot Games was seeking to prevent employees from filing lawsuits against the company. Kotaku’s report noted that five current and past employees of Riot Games were attempting to sue the company over gender discrimination. In response, Riot is forcing two of the five people into arbitration.
Now employees are planning to walk out in protest on Monday, May 6, according to Kotaku. Riot’s chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro contacted employees, according to Waypoint, noting that the company recognizes that “Rioters are not feeling heard” and that the company will “open up a dialogue on Monday and invite Rioters to join us for small group sessions where we can talk through your concerns.”
“I know yesterday’s article about Riot’s motion to compel arbitration feels like we’re not moving forward. And I have to say for me, it demonstrates we still have work to do,” Roseboro reportedly said via Slack message, referencing Kotaku’s report. “There are pros, cons, and nuances to the discussion of arbitration, especially given the active litigation against Riot. It can be complex so these types of topics are best discussed live where it’s easier to have a conversation.”
Riot Games gave the following statement to Polygon when contacted about the arbitration and the walkout:
While we won’t discuss details about ongoing litigation, we look forward to resolving all matters through the appropriate processes.
Our commitment to building and sustaining a world class, inclusive culture at Riot is unchanged and we value everyone who has come forward to help us become a better company. We have acknowledged that there are improvements we can make to our culture and community — we have made progress and are hyper-focused on continuing to do so. We have been evaluating all of our procedures and policies, including those related to arbitration. All of that work is well underway, and as we move forward, we will not hesitate to implement changes once we have thoughtfully assessed that these changes move us is the right direction for Riot and Rioters.
We’re proud of our colleagues for standing up for what they believe in. We always want Rioters to have the opportunity to be heard, so we’re sitting down today to listen to their opinions and learn more about their perspectives on arbitration. We will also be discussing this topic during our biweekly all-company town hall on Thursday. Both are important forums for us to discuss our current policy and listen to feedback, which are important parts of evaluating all of our procedures and policies, including those related to arbitration.
Riot employees’ action follows reports about Riot Games’ toxic culture from August 2018, where current and former employees talked about sexual discrimination they faced and other inappropriate behavior at the company. Since then, two Riot Games employees were fired for talking out about various issues on Twitter and Riot has been hit with several lawsuits.
Correction: A previous version of this post noted that the two Riot Games employees “waived their rights to sue the company once they joined Riot,” but this is inaccurate. The employees are still suing Riot Games and just must go through arbitration to do so. The story has been updated to correct this.