Employees at League of Legends developer Riot Games are preparing for a company-wide walkout later this afternoon.
Last week, there were reports of trouble brewing in the hallowed halls of Riot Games, the makers of the world’s biggest MOBA, League of Legends. That trouble had actually been brewing for quite some time due to Riot’s infamously hostile work environment, especially if you’re a woman.
No less than five current and former employees sued Riot several months ago for workplace harassment and gender discrimination, but two of those employees weren’t able to take their complaint before a judge. Instead, Riot enforced their arbitration clause in their hiring contracts in order to keep those employees in a boardroom where executives held all the power.
The practice of forced arbitration in employment contracts is highly controversial. Studies have found that the practice often favors the employer over the employee in terms of monetary settlements after a dispute arises, and often those responsible for workplace harassment are never held accountable.
Today myself and several of my co-workers are standing up for what is right, just, and fair in regards to Forced Arbitration and Sexual Harassment. Its 2019, and forcing anyone to sit in a room with the company/person who did this and "talk it out" is unacceptable. #riotwalkout— Mel Capperino-Garcia (@Riotswimbananas) May 6, 2019
Following news that Riot executed their forced arbitration clause, Riot employees began organizing a walkout. Fearing the negative publicity, Riot executives offered the small concession of allowing new employees the option of removing the arbitration clause from their contracts and perhaps someday allowing the same to current employees "as soon as current litigation is resolved."
Apparently, that wasn’t enough. According to a report from Kotaku, the walkout is scheduled to happen this afternoon and might have as many as 100 people in what would be the first walkout of a major games studio.
Walkouts have proven effective in enacting change in the tech industry. Following a walkout of 20,000 people, Google scrapped its forced arbitration clause and made greater strides towards workplace equality.
Game Workers Unite, an international organization fighting for better work environments for developers, said they’d be on site to hand out water and offer medical assistance if necessary. Riot has said they won’t retaliate against protesting Rioters.
We’ll be sure to update this story as it develops.