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Riot Games' $100 million gender discrimination settlement granted preliminary approval

The decision means payouts could begin later this year.

Riot's proposed $100 million gender discrimination settlement has been granted preliminary approval by a California judge, according to Axios.

The news is a notable win for those fighting for equality and accountability within the game industry, and comes as major companies such as Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft attempt to address their own cultural shortcomings. 

The proposal was first tabled by Riot last year in a bid to settle a 2018 gender discrimination class-action that involved forced arbitration clauses, employee walkouts, and numerous California regulators.

The suit was filed by former Riot Games staffers Melanie McCracken and Jess Negrón after a Kotaku report surfaced serious allegations of sexism and harassment at the League of Legends maker.

Riot's proposed settlement had already been jointly approved by the studio and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), but required court approval before any cash could be paid out.

The settlement will ensure $80 million is paid out to women employees and contract workers at Riot, with the remaining cash being used to cover legal costs and other expenses. As part of the settlement, Riot will also be required to establish a yearly $6 million cash reserve for three years to cover pay adjustments and DE&I initiatives.

The studio must also create 40 full-time positions in relevant fields for those contractors involved in the suit, and hire third-party experts to analyse its pay and promotion practices while also bringing in a third-party monitor to audit compliance for three years.

Discussing the settlement in December last year, Riot said it hoped those conditions reflect its desire to "lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry."

Those eligible for payouts as part of the settlement will be notified by the end of August, and will have until October to opt out. Payments will then follow.

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