Earlier this month a walkout was held by Riot Games staff members after it emerged that employees were being forced into private arbitration rather than public lawsuits over sexist behaviour at the studio, and since then Riot Games has said that "we will not change our employee agreements while in active litigation".
One walkout organiser has told The Verge that protests will be continuing following this decision, and employees are being asked to present their arguments to the studio's board of directors. The aim is to stop forced arbitration of these disputes, which means issues have to be solved internally.
"We are appealing to the board to advocate for us. Forced arbitration has been criticized and is being changed at a number of companies," one source explains, who adds that they have a petition that's currently being circulated.
"Riot has always aspired to be at the cutting edge of game companies," reads an excerpt from the petition. "We have also stated that we want to be a world leader in diversity and inclusion. To do both, we need to make shifts not just in our game production, but in our employment practices. Making this change even when there's a clear cost to the company unequivocally shows Riot's commitment to changing itself, both to current and future Rioters."
"I think that this particular set of actions raised our focus on arbitration just because it's such a clear, concrete thing that can be changed to increase trust between workers and management here," walkout organiser Jocelyn Monahan explains. "This isn't about being anti-Riot or not wanting to be here. We're doing this because we deeply believe in Riot's mission and we love this place and we want to make cool stuff together. And we know that we are part of Riot."
Despite refusing to change arbitration policies for those in active litigation, Riot has said that "we remain committed to having a firm answer around extending an opt-out to all Rioters when active litigation concludes."
"To be fair to the people that helped make the walkout happen and to everyone that participated, I think it's really important to point out that while we didn't change the arbitration agreement, some of the other changes — like the new committee we've set up to regularly connect concerned Rioters with leadership or allowing Rioters to be part of redrafting the code of conduct — wouldn't have happened without the walkout," a Riot spokesperson added.
This doesn't satisfy Monahan and several of those protesting though, as Monahan explains:
"That Riot would refuse to step in because of active litigation feels like a failure to those who've been wronged: Riot will "chalk those as a loss and kind of write them off," but do better later."
"That's unacceptable. They have people that they are supposed to protect that they're proposing to just write off because it's too complex, and that is shocking."
We will keep you updated on this situation as it progresses.
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