Months after five current and former employees filed lawsuits last spring and early this year, arguing that gender discrimination is against League of Legends Riot Games, Riot yesterday made a proposal to force two of these women to be private arbiters, which would prevent them from taking legal action.
The argument of the unrest is simple: those women gave up their rights to sue the company when they were hired.
In the proposals, received from Kotaku today, Riot's lawyer explains that women have agreed to arbitration clauses, common parts of employment contracts that are designed to isolate corporations from legal oversight.
These clauses force employees to submit their complaints to private arbitration, an extra-legal system without a jury or a judge, instead of exercising legal effect. In such cases, employees are less likely to be held accountable for misbehavior by employers.
This is a controversial practice that has recently been criticized. Over the last few months, Google, Facebook and Uber have announced they will stop compelling arbitrage practices for ill-treatment cases.
"There can be no dispute that the plaintiff has agreed to arbitration," a document obtained from Kotaku it is said that their "claims for discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as the wages owed, are explicitly stated" in the arbitration agreement.
These lawsuits, and the latest legal move of Riot, follow Kotaku the investigation last August revealed detailed endemic sexism in the company, including in its practices for employment and advancement.
In the months following our story, current and former employees in Paradise filed four different lawsuits, many argued that the company had violated the Equal Payments Act in California. Also, following our story, Riot has promised to keep it accountable and bring widespread cultural change.
Ryan Saba, lawyer representing plaintiffs against Riot, for Kotaku in a telephone interview this morning that he plans to fight forced coercion and believes he has a precedent for getting a jury trial even when the parties involved have signed arbitration clauses.
In a press release yesterday, he wrote: "Today's actions serve only to silence the voices of individuals who speak against such improper behavior and show that the company's words are no more than an oral service."
On the question of comment, the Revolutionary spokesman sent an e-mail message: "While we will not discuss the details of the ongoing litigation, we look forward to resolving all the issues through the respective processes.
"Our commitment to building and sustaining a world class culture that includes culture in the Rhine is unchanged and we appreciate all those who came to help us become a better company. We recognized that there are improvements we can make for our culture and community – we have made progress and we are hyper-focused to continue to do so.
"We have evaluated all our procedures and policies, including those related to arbitration. It's all well underway, and as we move forward, we will not hesitate to implement the changes when we think that these changes are moving we are the right direction for Riot and Rioters. "
The road of unrest to change its culture is rocky. After publishing a public apology a few weeks after the initial report, Riot has for months held several men accused of sexual harassment or sexism in repeated complaints to the company.
COW Scott Gelb, who several sources say that a "ball", a farsiered or humanized employee, remains in his position after two months of unpaid suspensions and training.
The riot also says that it evaluates its practices for employment and promotion, as well as work on diversity and inclusion. Last year, Riot signed an agreement with Francis Frey, a Harvard Business School professor in charge of cleaning Uber's alleged sister culture. In February, Riot announced that it had hired the former head of diversity in Dropbox Angela Roseboro as chief diversity officer.
Riot rejected repeated requests for Kotaku to interview co-founders Mark Merrill and Brandon Beck about the company's accountability process.