Update: Waypoint reports that some employees have discussed staging a walkout to protest these arbitration agreements, as well as, as one source put it, Riot's failure to provide visibility "into what leadership is actually doing to improve" after Kotaku's initial report about sexism within the company.
According to Waypoint, Riot chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro responded by planning "small group sessions" to discuss employee concerns, and CEO Nicolo Laurent added that along with these sessions, the topic will be discussed during a "biweekly all-company town hall on Thursday." You can read the full story over at Waypoint.
Original story: Several former and current Riot Games employees have filed lawsuits against the League of Legends developer since a report last year claimed there was a pervasive culture of sexism throughout the studio. The suits allege that, despite promises, Riot has not done enough to combat sexism in the workplace, instead "sweeping these allegations under the rug". Now Riot is attempting to stop two of the women from taking their employer to court, using clauses in their contracts to force them into private arbitration.
These kinds of arbitration agreements protect companies like Riot by shuffling the suits into private arbitration, where the employees must make their case in front of a third party arbitrator instead of a judge or jury. Documents obtained by Kotaku state that "claims for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as for wages due, are expressly listed".
The plaintiffs' lawyer said Riot's actions "serve to silence the voices of individuals" and that they would fight the arbitration clause and still attempt to get a jury trial.
Last year, Riot told us that the company takes these kinds of allegations seriously and investigates them thoroughly. "We remain committed to a deep and comprehensive evolution of our culture to ensure Riot is a place where all Rioters thrive."
Since then, Riot's created a chief diversity officer position, updated its manifesto and made a lot of promises about how it will improve its culture and tackle discrimination. But now that it has an opportunity to address complaints from employees, it's not being particularly transparent. It's apparently been reevaluating procedures like arbitration, however, but it's not yet committing to any specific changes.
Editor's note: Changed the headline to reflect that private arbitration is still legal action.