League of Legends publisher Riot Games responds to sexual harassment lawsuit

The Riot Games logo
(Image credit: Riot Games)

Update: This story has been altered to more clearly reflect that the reported lawsuit relates to the ongoing case brought in 2018.

It has emerged that Riot Games, maker of League of Legends and Valorant, is being sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement following allegations of sexual harassment, gender-based pay discrimination and retaliation against female employees. 

In a statement given to PC Gamer, a spokesperson for Riot Games said that the studio "does not have much to say about the state of things with the DFEH”, regarding a lawsuit filed against Riot Games earlier this year. 

The statement continued: "The truth is that we see it as a legal matter dealing with the past and our team outside of legal is much more focused on the future."

The action against Riot Games has been brought to light in the wake of the high-profile action against Activision Blizzard – the Riot Games litigation notice was actually filed earlier this year on February 3, 2021 but has come to the fore after being spotted by a Reddit user.

The DFEH is the same agency that has this week filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard on behalf of a number of that publisher's employees

The litigation against Riot is being brought in relation to claims surrounding “Gender discrimination in hiring, pay and promotion decisions; sexual harassment; and retaliation by Riot Games against its female employees are alleged in the case.”

It also explains that “Women who signed arbitration agreements or other agreements cannot be excluded from the government’s case. It is unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you for speaking to the government, or otherwise participating or cooperating in a government proceeding."

The reference to the arbitration agreements is in regards to the earlier actions taken against Riot Games in 2018. 

PC Gamer reports the 2018 class action suit, which cited harmful behaviour, the use of demeaning language and the distribution of sexually explicit imagery, is ongoing and is being represented by Genie Harrison Law.

The DFEH litigation clarifies that secondary testimony by those involved in a 2018 suit can be taken into account, originally complicated by arbitration agreements in some employees’ contracts, which stated that conflicts were to be settled through arbitration rather than litigation. 

TechRadar has also independently asked Riot Games for comment, and will update this story if we receive it.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.