Is Riot Games Supporting a Sexist Workplace?

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Riot Games, a product of Tencent Games (a division of Tencent a multi-billion dollar Chinese technology company specializing in various internet services such as video games, social media and artificial intelligence), is facing a lawsuit alleging that the company created and fostered a “bro culture,” violated the California Equal Pay Act, and failed to prevent harassment in the workplace. The case was filed on behalf of former employee, Jessica Negron, current employee, Melanie McCracken and other female employees of the company.

Riot Games, most well-known for its hit game, League of Legends, is facing a long list of allegations that all point to the claim that the company and its top management foster a culture of sexism and discrimination toward women. Some of the allegations included in the more than 150 count suit are:

Female employees regularly belittled at staff meetings.

Female employees being promised pay raises and promotions that were then given to male coworkers.

Female employees made fun of and sexually objectified.

An email list of “Hottest Women Employees” was distributed that ranked female employees.

Inappropriate sexual jokes about rape, defecation, and masturbation were common place.

Concerns regarding the inappropriate workplace behavior brought to Human Resources were dismissed as “snobby.”

The women involved in the suit are seeking back wages and punitive damages. According to the Tencent financial report for the second quarter of 2018, the company’s revenue was recorded at over 11 million USD. The suit follows an investigation from Kotaku, an international gaming network, that was concluded only three months prior. The investigation highlighted the company’s culture, describing it was toxic masculinity. The Kotaku report claimed that females at the company were blocked from promotion because they didn’t fit the “gamer” mold. It also claimed that female new hires were kept under extreme scrutiny to judge whether or not they matched the company’s “culture;” a difficulty that male new hires did not have to deal with.

Following the report, Riot Games, claimed changes were made in the workplace. Women involved in the lawsuit claim that many of the worst offenders at the company faced zero consequences. For example, once male employee in a position of leadership was allegedly allowed to retain his leadership role even though he regularly made sexual comments on the job and even allegedly drugged and raped another employee.

The class action lawsuit will include both former and current employees of Riot Games.

If you need to discuss gender discrimination in the workplace or if you are being sexually harassed on the job and feel that you have no recourse, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Spotify Dealing with Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Hong Perez, a former sales executive for Spotify filed a lawsuit claiming gender discrimination, equal pay violations and defamation. The lawsuit was filed in New York Supreme Court and claimed that Spotify’s US Head of Sales, Brian Berner, excluded women from numerous networking trips to the Sundance Film Festival in 2016 and 2017. Perez referred to the trips as “boys’ trips.” She also referenced drug use on the trips and claimed that one of the male employees got into a “fight” during one of the trips.

Perez’ lawsuit lists other cases of gender discrimination at Spotify. One such case included a male Spotify managers trip to an Atlantic City strip club. Another discussed a male employee of Spotify who received a promotion after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him. Still another alleges that a Spotify Human Resources executive told staff in the midst of a meeting what his favorite curse word was, and it happened to be a derogatory slur against women.

In the lawsuit, Perez states that the same HR Head advised Perez that he had a “soft spot” for one male employee accused of harassment and went easy on him for this reason. The CFO allegedly remarked at a town hall meeting that he did not care about diversity at the company. Perez also claims that higher compensation is provided to male employees. She also accused Berner of defamation. After Berner accepted free tickets to New York’s Madison Square Garden, he was reprimanded. To avoid disciplinary action, Berner blamed Perez. The situation escalated until Berner fired Perez from the company.

Spotify responded to the suit and the allegations it contained by publicly stating that they do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at any level of the company. They referenced their inability to comment on specific details related to the pending litigation, but insisted the claims made in the lawsuit file by Perez were without merit.

If you have concerns about gender discrimination or if you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.