Riot Games’ gender discrimination lawsuit settlement could be a lot worse than it originally was. The settlement will bring about the end of a lawsuit filed against Riot in the months following the reveal of  a culture of discrimination against female job candidates and employees. Numerous former and current employees came forward with stories of how they were mistreated by the maker of League of Legends. Now, the lawsuit is coming to a close - but there are a few issues that need to be dealt with first.

Current and former employees banded together to file the lawsuit, which they hope will prevent Riot Games from “creating, encouraging, and maintaining a work environment that exposes its female employees to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of their gender or sex." The game developer spoke out, offering a public apology to women who have been subjected to discriminatory treatment and promising to “patch” the problem, leaving no room for discrimination following a series of Riot Games employee protests and walkouts. The League of Legends developer proposed a $10 million settlement, but the state of California stepped in to say that’s not good enough.

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing said in a court filing on January 8 that the settlement would undercompensate the plaintiffs, the LA Times reports. Effectively, Riot would pay $6 million to deal with claims that would be worth around $400 million. The department also says that the settlement wouldn’t actually require Riot Games to change its employment practices. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement also voiced concern that such a settlement will release the League of Legends developer from state labor code violations.

Both agencies asked the court to reject the settlement. The two agencies also targeted the plaintiffs’ lawyers, who they say did not do their due diligence to determine a fair settlement amount for their clients among other grievous errors. Riot Games maintains that the state’s estimated value of the claims are unreasonable because they have made some improvements as a lawsuit loomed over them. On January 31, the court will decide whether or not the  Division of Labor Standards Enforcement can intervene in the case. This would signal major changes as the DSLE would then be able to conduct its own discovery and attempt to hold Riot accountable. On February 3, the court will then decide whether the proposed $10 million settlement is acceptable.

League of Legends made $1.4 billion in 2018 alone. The prior year, LoL brought in $2.1 billion. While this a princely sum and not at all representative of every single year of Riot’s existence, it reveals one important fact: Riot Games consistently makes a lot of money. This is a company that could do the right thing and pay the women a sum that is significantly larger than the one that’s been proposed, but will wait and see if the state of California essentially forces its hand. Interested parties will have to wait a little longer to see how the settlement shakes out.

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Source: LA Times