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Riot agrees to scrap mandatory arbitration, but only for new employees

"As soon as current litigation is resolved, we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

May 3, 2019

2 Min Read

Riot Games has pledged to let new employees opt-out of mandatory arbitration in the wake of staff protests.

Staffers reportedly threatened to stage a walkout last week over the company's attempts to force two former workers with lawsuits against Riot into private arbitration, with the League of Legends developer keen to push those concerned into settling their harassment complaints and other legal issues outside of the courts.

Riot responded to that discontent by explaining there are "pros, cons, and nuances to the discussion of arbitration," but after further consultations with staff has now decided to "pivot" its approach - but only after current litigation has been put to bed.

"As soon as current litigation is resolved, we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. At that time, we will also commit to have a firm answer around expanding the scope and extending this opt-out to all Rioters," wrote the company in a blog post

"We know that this resolution will not satisfy all Rioters. We understand and respect Rioters who choose to protest this decision on Monday, and admire their conviction and willingness to stand up for their beliefs."

The studio also outlined what arbitration currently means at Riot, and explained its current agreement allows plaintiffs to hire a lawyer of their choosing, and doesn't require them to sign a confidentiality clause. 

Riot added that it also covers all costs of the arbitrator, who must be agreed upon by both parties involved in the process, and that the agreement doesn't limit damages. 

Although the company has ultimately decided to tweak its approach, it re-iterated that the situation will remain "complicated," and will undoubtedly leave some feeling shortchanged.

"We are facing a complicated situation with no perfect solution, so arriving at a decision has not been easy," continued the company. "We are working diligently to resolve all ongoing litigation, so that we can quickly take steps toward a solution that more Rioters feel good about. This is where we are right now, but this is an ongoing process and there's more to come."

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2019

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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