The state of California resorts to the law in Riot Games investigation

Riot Games

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has announced that it is filing an investigation enforcement lawsuit against Riot Games as it investigates gender discrimination at the company which makes League of Legends.

In a press release, the California DFEH said: “The Department is seeking to require Riot to provide the Department with employee pay data as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged gender discrimination at the Los Angeles-based video game developer. According to the DFEH’s enforcement suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Riot Games, Inc. has refused to provide the Department with adequate information for DFEH to analyze whether women are paid less than men at the company.”

Riot Games has recently been dogged by allegations of unequal pay for women, sexual harassment and gender discrimination which, as we reported, led to a staff walkout at the company in May 2019. The company is adamant that it is taking steps to address those allegations. However, the DFEH’s move to use the law to assist its investigation means it has not received the co-operation it expected from the company.

DFEH Director Kevin Kish said: “DFEH has broad authority to investigate potential violations of California’s civil rights laws similar to grand jury proceedings. When companies fail to cooperate voluntarily with our investigations, including with our investigative discovery, DFEH will exercise its right to seek assistance from the courts.”

Speaking to Kotaku, Riot Games said: “We’ve been in active conversations with the DFEH since its inquiry began. Investigations like this can arise when there have been allegations of workplace disparity and we’ve 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. We’ve also made several recent requests that the DFEH participate in a call with us to address their requests. To date, these requests have been unanswered, so we’re frankly disappointed to see the DFEH issue a press release alleging that we’ve been non-cooperative.”

For further Riot Games-related information, visit its website.

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Steve Boxer
Steve Boxer has been writing about videogames since the early 1990s. His first console was an Atari VCS, and he misspent most of his youth in the 1980s in the arcades. As well as for Green Man Gaming, he can be found writing for The Guardian, Empire, TechRadar and Pocket-Lint. He’s currently having trouble deciding whether his favourite console is his Xbox One X or his Switch, and plays a wide range of games, but especially RPGs (he loves a good JRPG) action-adventure titles, shooters of all descriptions and driving games. Follow him here.