The saga at League of Legends developer Riot Games continues, as last month we reported on the developer allegedly blocking lawsuits from employees - citing arbitration clauses when employees were hired (something which means disputes would have to be settled in private) - and now the rumours of a walkout have been confirmed, as Vice reports that over 100 employees have downed tools.
"This is an action we intended specifically to target forced arbitration," Jocelyn Monahan, a social listening strategist at Riot Games who helped facilitate the walkout, told VICE. "We're asking forced arbitration be ended for all past, current, and future riot employees including contractors and also in current litigation."
"I am terrified to stand in front of you and demand change. But I will not apologize for the trembling of my hands or the wavering of my voice because I will not stand complicit in the face of injustice," insights researcher Ronnie Blackburn said in a speech. "Whether you are here to show your support, express your dissent, or simply discuss so that you can better understand the situation, this is a hard and scary thing to be a part of, so thank you. Thank you all for your courage here today."
"We are asking Riot to fully end forced arbitration for past, current, and future Rioters, including contractors, and to withdraw its use in active litigation," walkout organisers explained to Vice. "We stand with the current plaintiffs, whose alleged abusers remain in leadership positions at Riot. Victims of harassment and discrimination should have the right to choose how to confront their abusers, whether that's in private arbitration or a court of law."
This comes after Riot Games made a statement on arbitration last week:
"We've made a call that we will pivot our approach. 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."
"We know that this resolution will not satisfy all Rioters. We understand and respect Rioters who choose to protest this decision on Monday [the walkout], and admire their conviction and willingness to stand up for their beliefs. "
In the same statement Riot explains that a new code of conduct is coming over the next month, with "a new anti-harassment training for all new hires" coming in the next 60 days, alongside Complete Chief Diversity Officer D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) and Values listening sessions and Values workshops for the executive team and senior leaders. Within 90 days, however, a new "cultural recognition program" will be launched, alongside a D&I scoreboard to track progress over time.