Riot Games Inc.’s scrutiny of the “League of Legends” video game maker’s accusations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment grew broader on Wednesday: California regulators also disclosed that they are investigating the issue.
The State Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the agency that enforces the civil-rights legislation of California, said it lodged a court action requiring the Los Angeles business to provide it with staff pay information.
The action, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday, was necessary because Riot Games “refused to provide adequate information to the department” for the agency to “analyze whether women are paid less than men in the company,” the department said.
It also said that it wants the data on the business “as part of an inquiry into suspected unfair pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault, retaliation, and gender discrimination in choice and promotion.”
The Fair Employment and Housing Department of California has just announced (via Kotaku) that it is trying to legally force Riot to cough up staff pay information so that it can see if Riot is paying females less than males because Riot has refused to willingly provide that information.
Of course, the surprising part is that we had no idea that Riot had been under inquiry formally until now. In total, the agency claims it is investigating “suspected unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault, retaliation, and gender discrimination in choice and promotion.” “DFEH has wide power to explore future violations of California’s civil rights laws comparable to grand jury trials,” reads part of a declaration by DFEH director Kevin Kish. “When businesses, including our investigative discovery, fail to collaborate willingly with our inquiries, DFEH will exercise its right to seek court help. This guarantees that our investigations are notified and finished without undue delay by appropriate proof.
In the latest months, similar allegations by present and former staff have engulfed Riot Games. Last month, more than 200 employees left Riot’s headquarters to protest against what they described as the company’s culture of sexism and its handling of sexual-discrimination lawsuits.
The Fair Employment and Housing Department “has wide power to explore future violations of the civil rights laws of California comparable to grand jury trials,” Department Director Kevin Kish said in a declaration.
“When businesses fail to willingly cooperate with our inquiries, including our investigative discovery, [the department] will exercise their right to seek court help,” he said.
Riot Games said it would alter its culture with the assistance of advisors, restructure its human resources schemes and alter the structure of its board after The Times and other media outlets last year pointed to a culture of sexism and harassment against females at the business.
Riot Games also said it has a “zero tolerance policy on discrimination, harassment, retaliation, bullying, and overall toxicity.” But in the following months, five present and former staff filed lawsuits against Riot Games, Riot Games alleging violations of the California Equal Pay Act as well as gender-based discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.
April’s firm submitted motions to transfer two of the suits to arbitration instead of a trial. It said that when they were recruited, the plaintiffs had signed arbitration provisions, a move that further irritated the staff and led to last month’s protest. Riot Games said the week after the protest that it still require employees to go through arbitration but did not rule out allowing solutions to arbitration in the future after the present litigation has been resolved