California Urges Riot Games to Let Workers Speak Up About Harassment, Discrimination

Employees have many rights under California and federal law, including the right to participate in an investigation into workplace misconduct or speak to a government agency. Employers are not allowed to retaliate against workers who engage in these and other protected activities.

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) accused Riot Games of failing to let employees know they could speak freely with the agency about discrimination and sexual harassment at the gaming company. In 2019, Riot Games agreed to pay a $10 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination against female employees.

In its investigation, the DFEH found the company’s settlement agreements had language that “suggested” employees who signed the documents were not free to talk candidly with the government about harassment and other violations. According to the department, such restrictions violate laws that prohibit retaliation against workers. Riot Games claimed the company has never retaliated against employees for talking to government agencies.

The DFEH described such agreements as having “a chilling effect on the willingness” of employees to share information that may help the government tackle employment violations. Earlier this year, the DFEH requested the courts urge Riot Games to issue a notice to employees informing them of their right to talk to the department about discrimination and harassment, regardless of any agreements they signed.

However, in a recent Los Angeles Superior Court filing, the DFEH said Riot was stalling on notifying workers. Over the years, the agency has been tackling workplace misconduct in the gaming industry. It recently filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for discrimination and harassment.

California laws provide protection to employees who file a complaint with a state agency, cooperate in a government investigation or participate in a lawsuit. Employers are prohibited from engaging in any type of retaliation in such circumstances, including firing workers, cutting pay or hours, giving negative performance reviews for no reason, or passing them over for promotions.

As an employee, you have rights. If you suffered retaliation for complaining about discrimination or harassment in the workplace, contact Erlich Law Firm. An experienced Oakland employment lawyer will listen to what happened and help you understand your legal options.

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