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Riot Games will not allow employees to opt out of arbitration, despite major walk out

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Future employees can opt-out, but current employees won’t have that option until all active litigation ends

Riot Games HQ

Riot Games employees took part in a major walk out on May 6 to protest several of the company’s employment policies, including the use of forced arbitration in response to employee lawsuits. Riot has since released a statement announcing that it will not be changing its arbitration policy during litigation.

“Ultimately, given the complexities of ongoing litigation, we will not change our employee agreements while in active litigation,” the statement explains. “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.“

Arbitration is a system through which disputes are decided by a private process instead of the legal system. “Employees subject to mandatory arbitration can no longer sue for violations of many important employment laws, including rights to minimum wages and overtime pay, rest breaks, protections against discrimination and unjust dismissal, privacy protection, family leave, and a host of other state and federal employment rights,” the Economic Policy Institute claimed in a 2015 report.

The walkout itself came just days after Riot released an initial statement explaining that it would not be allowing employees to opt out of the company’s policy of mandatory arbitration on issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

The company’s statement also addresses some of the other issues that were brought up by employees during the walkout, including D&I (diversity and inclusion) at the company. On this topic, the statement promises change or, “at a minimum, mutual understanding.”

In an effort to reach that mutual understanding, Riot announced via the statement the creation of a new program called the D&I Rioters Council. This group will be led by Riot’s chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro and incorporate members of the Riot team from all around the company in order to take a “proactive approach to share perspectives, create change, and identify barriers and opportunities to move us forward in D&I and culture.”

According to the company’s statement, it has also invited a “diverse” group of employs to review its Code of Conduct in an attempt revise it and address concerns.

Much of this current concern over the working conditions, diversity, and arbitration issues was brought to public attention after a a Kotaku report in August 2018 alleged a culture of sexism.