Several weeks ago, we posted a story that Riot Games employees were planning a walkout in response to the company filing a motion to engage in private arbitration with two employees involved in legal proceedings. The Riot Games walkout has now happened, both due to the arbitration and the sexism in the studio.
This whole saga has been going on for several months at this point, ever since it was reported that Riot Games’s company culture was heavily sexist. Various female employees filed lawsuits against the company, and two of them were given a motion to bring the suits into private arbitration.
Private arbitration means that the two employees had to deal with Riot Games personally, without any judge or jury, essentially allowing the company to dictate terms. These were the main reasons behind the Riot Games walkout, despite Riot’s platitudes about changing the studio.
Over 150 different Riot Games employees took part in the walkout, and this appears to be the first of its kind in the video games industry. Their demands were mainly an end to the forced arbitration of lawsuits against the studio, which Riot claimed they would allow a few weeks ago after the current litigation was resolved.
Protests against forced arbitration have already seen success in other industries. 20,000 employees walked out of their Google offices a while ago, and months afterwards Google announced that harassment cases would no longer come under arbitration.
The other reason for the Riot Games walkout, the company’s sexist culture, is still ongoing, however. While Riot Games claimed they would be addressing the concerns, two of its executives including the COO remain at the company even after multiple complaints to Human Resources and reports about everything from gender-biased promotions to ball-grabbing.
One of the people at the walkout said that she had given her two-weeks’ notice, as she did not want to work in a studio that protected people like that.
The Riot Games walkout participants said that if their demands were not met on May 16, the date of the next meeting for the “Riot Unplugged” group, more drastic action would be taken.