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Push Back Against Arbitration Moves Into Video Game Industry

Riot Games, one of the most successful video game developers in the country, was the object of a major walkout in Los Angeles. More than 100 current employees (known as “Rioters”) walked out of the company that makes the “League of Legends” game to protest the company’s use of arbitration agreements for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination.
In 2018, Kotaku published an online report entitled “Inside the Culture of Sexism at Riot Games” discussing the company’s “bro culture.” Following the article, Riot brought in consultants, restructured its Human Resources systems, and changed its board’s composition. However, employees began speaking out, with five employees filing lawsuits against the company for claims of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. Two of those employees were subject to arbitration based on clauses in their contracts and blocked from proceeding with their lawsuits. Employees at Riot were angry about the enforcement of the arbitration clause and planned the walkout.
In response to the walkout, Riot Games issued a statement. Asserting that no changes would be made while active litigation was pending, the company said, “As soon as active litigation is resolved, we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. At that time, we will also commit to have a firm answer on potentially expanding the scope and extending this opt-out to all Rioters.” The employees have indicated they continue to keep pressuring the company, seeking to have the arbitration clause removed completely from contracts.