A California judge has ordered Riot to notify its employees of their rights to help with the enquiry.
In a nutshell: The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) released a statement this week accusing Riot Games, developer of Valorant and League of Legends, of delaying the proceedings of its investigation into allegations of rampant sexism and harassment in 2018. The court wants Riot to allow its employees to talk to the DFEH without fear of repercussions.
Those who have been following the current allegations against Activision Blizzard’s culture of discrimination and harassment may recall that a similar case began three years ago at Riot Games, and California’s DFEH is still investigating it. Two women filed a lawsuit against Riot, alleging that the corporation paid women less than men for comparable work and that they were subjected to sexual harassment.
Riot secured an agreement with approximately 100 female employees in 2019. However, earlier this year, the DFEH compelled Riot to divulge the terms of the settlement, which included wording prohibiting employees from openly speaking to the government.
In June, Riot was ordered to issue a corrective notice notifying employees of their rights to speak to the DFEH and cooperate in its investigation without fear of retaliation. The DFEH’s statement this week asks the Los Angeles Superior Court to compel Riot to comply.
“Agreements that attempt to bar individuals from filing a complaint or assisting in a DFEH case run afoul of the anti-retaliation and anti-interference provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act,” DFEH director Kevin Kish said. “The very existence of such agreements has a chilling effect on the willingness of individuals to come forward with information that may be of importance to the DFEH as it seeks to advance the public interest in the elimination of unlawful employment discrimination and harassment.”
Today, Riot Games sent a statement to IGN claiming it’s never stopped employees from talking to the government. “Notices are being addressed to former workers to check that Riot’s severance agreements have never barred speaking to government agencies,” it says. “Riot has never retaliated against anyone for speaking with any government agency and will never do so.”
Alienware severed its association with Riot earlier this year due to the claims and the bad impact on its public image.