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Riot Games Keeps Arbitration Clause Amidst Employee Outrage

Protesters expressed disappointment towards the game-developer’s decision.

Jessica Kent joined a walkout at Riot Games. source: Los Angeles Times

More than 150 workers of Riot Games, makers of popular online battle video game League of Legends, staged a mass walkout earlier this month.

The walkout, which is of the largest scale in video game industry history, wished to shed light on the company’s handling of lawsuits brought against it alleging workplace sexism and misconduct.

Ultimately, what trigged the protest was the company’s ruthless handling of its diversity complaints – Five current and former employees are suing the game publisher alleging gender discrimination and violation of California’s Equal Pay Act, and the company filed a motion to force two of the complainants into arbitration.

“Silence one of us,” another demonstrator’s sign read, “and you silence us ALL.”

source: liberation news

Riot, a division of Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. caught under fire following the video-game platform Kotaku’s revealing of complaints by 28 current and former employees who underlined the company’s “bro” culture shaped the firm into a hostile workplace.

Recent years see employees from various companies carrying out large-scale walkout to demand their firms to address issues around diversity and sexual harassment.

In fact, the Riot workout was inspired by the Google Walkout – a protest took place worldwide in November last year in the wake of a New York Times investigation (paywall) about sexual harassment at the company.

Riot Games’ headquarters in Los Angeles. source: Riot Games

Monahan, one of the Riot organizers, said that workers at the company drew their inspiration from Google. “People are thinking about the basic concepts of organizing,” she said earlier this week. “Workers hold the power because you are the ones who can stop the company from functioning.”

Unlike Riot, Google quickly agreed not to require forced arbitration in cases of sexual misconduct, and in March announced it would eliminate forced arbitration for employees altogether.

The Riot walkout, which is the largest kind in video game industry history emerged as a breath of fresh air. Despite a pervasive culture of overwork and gender inequality, protests and walkouts are rare in the video games industry.

However, change-makers are hoping to shake things up by pushing for unionisation of the industry and address the problem of overwork and workplace diversity.

Gender inequality has long been an issue in industries such as gaming, IT and finance, where women are outnumbered and continue to suffer from unequal treatments such as gender pay gap and sexual harassment.

Source: The Republic, Bloomberg, The Guardian

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