Riot files motion to keep some employees from taking the company to court

In the wake of substantial reports last year on alleged discrimination and harassment at Riot Games, five current and former employees have filed gender discrimination lawsuits against the company. Now, Riot has made motions which would force two of those plaintiffs into private arbitration – which would essentially keep them from taking legal action against Riot.

Riot’s attorney says that the two employees in question agreed to arbitration clauses, as Kotaku reports. These clauses are common but controversial parts of employment contracts that force employees to take complaints that would normally be resolved through the traditional legal system into private arbitration without a jury or judge. Riot’s motion says that “claims for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as for wages due, are expressly listed” in the agreement.

Ryan Saba, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, tells Kotaku that he believes there is precedent for obtaining a jury trial despite an existing arbitration agreement, and that he plans to fight the forced arbitration motion.

Riot says that it won’t discuss ongoing litigation, but tells Kotaku in a statement that “We have been evaluating all of our procedures and policies, including those related to arbitration. All of that work is well underway, and as we move forward, we will not hesitate to implement changes once we have thoughtfully assessed that these changes move us is the right direction for Riot and Rioters.”

Since Kotaku’s expansive report on sexual harassment and discrimination at Riot last year, the company has publicly vowed to improve its culture, though it remains to be seen how effective those efforts will be over time. Riot’s diversity efforts expanded earlier this year as the company announced it had hired Angela Roseboro, formerly of Dropbox, as its first chief diversity officer.

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