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California state is investigating Riot Games over alleged gender discrimination

League of Legends studio Riot Games is being investigated by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for gender discrimination. The DFEH has said it’s filing an investigation enforcement suit in a press release today, and will be looking into multiple aspects of gender discrimination at the company.

As reported by Kotaku, the DFEH is seeking information from the studio as part of an investigation into “alleged unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault, retaliation, and gender discrimination in selection and promotion”. It has filed an investigation enforcement action to get data about employees’ pay from Riot, claiming that the studio “has refused to provide the Department with adequate information”, which it needs to “analyse whether women are paid less than men at the company”.

Riot, however, insists it’s been “in active conversations with the DFEH since its inquiry began” and has been “cooperating in good faith with the DFEH to address its concerns. During this time, we’ve promptly responded to the DFEH’s requests, and have produced over 2,500 pages of documents and several thousand lines of pay data so far.”

Riot goes on to say it has requested a call with the DFEH to address its concerns, which have gone unanswered, so “we’re frankly disappointed to see the DFEH issue a press release alleging that we’ve been non-cooperative. We’re confident that we’ve made substantial progress on diversity, inclusion, and company culture, and look forward to continue demonstrating this to the DFEH”.

In addition to a report last year, also by Kotaku, in which multiple sources talked about what they perceived to be a culture of ingrained sexism at the studio, there have been lawsuits and even an employee walkout over alleged gender discrimination and forced arbitration clauses in employees’ contracts.

Last month, Riot said in a blog post that it would create a D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) Rioters Council, whose aim would be to “move us forward in D&I and culture”, acknowledging their employees’ “perspectives on arbitration, issues they’ve experienced at Riot, and changes they hope to see”.

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