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.