Outraged that the company is taking action to block the lawsuits of former employees, Riot employees are openly discussing a walk out in a show of protest. The lawsuits in question are over claims that the game studio allowed multiple instances of gender discrimination in the workplace, as revealed by Kotaku last year.
The company has attempted to block legal proceedings and instead move the grievances into arbitration – a court-alternative which could potentially give the company a lot more power in the discussion. Riot Games, however, has claimed that arbitration is appropriate as the employees in question signed contracts which forbade them from ever suing the League of Legends creator.
The situation has become heated, with Riot Games Chief Diversity Officer, Angela Roseboro, addressing employees via the company Slack messaging network in an effort to cool things off.
“I know yesterday’s article about Riot’s motion to compel arbitration feels like we’re not moving forward,” Roseboro message stated, “And I have to say for me, it demonstrates we still have work to do. 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.”
“We’re also aware there may be an upcoming walkout and recognise some Rioters are not feeling heard,” the message also stated. “We want to open up a dialogue on Monday and invite Rioters to join us for small group sessions where we can talk through your concerns, and provide as much context as we can about where we’ve landed and why. If you’re interested, please take a moment to add your name to this spreadsheet. We’re planning to keep these sessions smaller so we can have a more candid dialogue.”
But some employees were not pleased by the attempt. “When Angela Roseboro offered to schedule focus sessions with people,” one employee revealed to Waypoint regarding Roseboro’s messages, “There was backlash because people were frustrated at yet another example of closed-door discussions instead of transparency. Overall, I think Rioters are sick of feeling like they have no visibility into what leadership is actually doing to improve.”
The Kotaku investigation that sparked the situation revealed a number of disturbing realities at Riot Games, as recounted by around 28 employees both past and present: Amongst the issues were unwanted and constant flirting, ignoring ideas presented by female staff only to fully accept them from male staff, telling female staff they were only there due to looks, accounts of receiving severance when reporting incidents to HR, lists of ‘fuckable’ female staff being passed around management, and even receiving unwanted dick pics from other members of staff.
The size and status of the discussed walk-out is as yet unknown, but Respawning will keep an eye on the story as it develops.