On June 12, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced that they were suing the Los Angeles-based video game company Riot Games (RG). Their investigation enforcement lawsuit was filed against them for failing to cooperate in answering their questions. They’re trying to determine if gender discrimination is occurring in their workplace.
The gaming review company Kotaku first began receiving complaints from RG employees about gender discrimination last year. When confronted about it, company executives promised to let anyone who engaged in discrimination go.
They also said that they would look more closely at their corporate structure and devise policies to address any workers’ illegal behaviors. They were supposed to come up with strategies for giving long-disadvantaged women an opportunity for advancement in their workplace. It’s unclear if improvements were ever made.
In October of last year, the DFEH began investigating whether gender discrimination was occurring at RG. During their investigation, they report that company administrators repeatedly impeded their progress. They also withheld certain data that they’re required by law to maintain. This information would have shed light on whether female and males are being compensated differently.
At least 150 RG employees participated in a walkout in May. They did so to protect their decision to pursue arbitration to settle unequal pay lawsuits with two of their former employees. By the time this had occurred, the DFEH had grown tired of waiting for RG to respond.
In their lawsuit that they filed on June 12, the DFEH asked a judge to compel the video game company to reveal what their employees get paid. They noted that this information is needed to help them complete their investigation into whether RG workers engaged in discriminatory practices. These include gender discrimination in hiring and promotion, sexual assault and harassment, paying unequal wages and retaliation.
Workers in California are protected from being discriminated against based on their race, religion, gender and for a variety of other reasons by both state and federal law. Los Angeles County employers who violate these laws may be assessed fines and other penalties for their illegal actions.
If you’ve been treated unfairly on the job, then a workplace discrimination attorney with years of experience handling similar cases can help. They can advise you of the next steps that you can take in your legal matter.