Government officials in California have accused League of Legends and Valorant developer Riot Games of failing to carry out a court order to send notices to staff about their rights to speak to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing about harassment and discrimination. The studio has been involved in sexism allegations since 2019 when stories of harassment, discrimination, and the fostering of a toxic workplace emerged online. An investigative report by Kotaku later revealed that many current and former employees had experienced sexism at Riot Games.
After the allegations were first reported, the State of California announced that it was investigating the company over claims of workplace discrimination and harassment. This investigation came after the studio was criticized for forcing employees who had started legal action against it to go through arbitration, as per their employment agreement. The Department for Fair Employment and Housing later alleged that Riot Games was uncooperative with its officials and filed an enforcement suit to compel the company to hand over documents.
The California government has accused Riot Games of delaying the implementation of a court order issued in June by refusing to inform its employees about their right to speak to officials. The instruction compels Riot to tell all current and former employees that they are free to speak to the government about any harassment or discrimination regardless of any non-disclosure agreements that are in place. In a document released by the California Department for Fair Employment and Housing, which was first reported by The Verge, the body is now asking the courts to “to compel Riot Games Inc.’s compliance with the Court’s June 4, 2021 order requiring the company to send a notice to its workers about their rights to speak with DFEH.” According to DFEH, the studio has still not sent notices to former staff who signed severance agreements after leaving the company.
Riot Games is not the only company currently involved in legal action with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Earlier in July, the government body filed a lawsuit that accused Activision Blizzard of fostering “a pervasive ‘frat boy’ workplace culture” and creating “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” This lawsuit followed a two-year investigation by DFEH and prompted widespread condemnation within the gaming industry.
While Riot Games has disputed the latest claims from the Californian government, officials believe the studio is not fulfilling its legal obligations. Riot has not yet responded to these latest allegations.