Workers at Riot Games are threatening a walkout after the company forced several former employees into arbitration over their claims of a toxic work environment.
Riot just can’t seem to catch a break. After last summer’s big reveal of Riot’s toxic and discriminatory work culture by an investigative report from Kotaku, the company is still having trouble sending the right message to their remaining staff.
Last Friday, Riot filed a motion to force two former employees into forced arbitration over their legal claims of gender discrimination and a hostile work environment. As per a report from Kotaku, Riot has arbitration clauses in their hiring contracts that can force employees into private arbitration for disputes over "discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as for wages due."
The practice of arbitration clauses in contracts is highly controversial. A Cornell University study found that employees are far less likely to achieve a fortunate outcome when a legal dispute is taken out of court and placed in a private setting where the employer is not publicly held accountable. For this reason, many tech companies are removing these clauses from their hiring contracts.
Shortly thereafter, talk of a company-wide walkout began to resurface. As reported by Waypoint, rumblings of a walkout began last summer after the initial report of discrimination and toxic work culture broke. Now, employees further enraged at Riot’s actions with two former employees are organizing a walkout, prompting a response from Riot’s recently hired chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro.
“We’re also aware there may be an upcoming walkout and recognize some Rioters are not feeling heard,” Roseboro said in an email sent to employees. “We want to open up a dialogue on Monday and invite Rioters to join us for small group sessions where we can talk through your concerns, and provide as much context as we can about where we’ve landed and why. If you’re interested, please take a moment to add your name to this spreadsheet. We’re planning to keep these sessions smaller so we can have a more candid dialogue.”
However, employees are critical of these “small, candid” sessions as it further isolates employees and prevents them from expressing collective outrage.
We’ll be sure to report more on this story as it develops.