California is investigating Riot Games over gender discrimination

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has been investigating allegations of gender discrimination, assault and harassment at League of Legends developer Riot Games. On Wednesday, the department announced it was filing an investigation enforcement suit against the developer to compel it to cooperate with the DFEH's investigation. 

While the department's investigation is looking into gender discrimination generally, the DFEH is currently trying to get access to pay information to analyse the wages of men and women at the company, to see if there's a disparity. It says Riot hasn't been cooperative in this instance and is refusing to provide that information, hence the suit.

Riot, however, denies that it's been stonewalling the DFEH. In a statement shared with Kotaku, Riot says that it has been communicative since the investigation started and has provided pay information that's been requested. It flips the department's complaints, arguing that it's the DFEH that's not being cooperative. 

"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. 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."

The investigation follows a report that painted a grim picture of the developer, who's now facing multiple gender discrimination lawsuits. Riot has since brought in new people to help change its culture and written new company values, but after forcing employees into arbitration rather than letting make their case to a judge and jury, Riot faced a walkout of more than 150 employees. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.