The latest nail in the coffin of League of Legends and the fiasco swirling around lay-offs and work culture at Tencent's esports acquisition is the fact the company has been essentially requiring that employees undergo mandatory Riot Games arbitration for individual sexual harassment claims. The company has allegedly committed to eliminating this process for new staff, but only after existing litigation is done and dusted.
The minds behind League of Legends, one of the most popular MOBAs and esports on the market currently, have been dealing with the blowback from allegations around a toxic workplace environment. They've also had their work culture described as sexist by former and current employees since last year.
While the League of Legends community's attention will be focused on the Mid-Season Invitational, a press release from Riot Games has gone out to publications regarding some promised changes to its current Riot Games arbitration and diversity and inclusion policies. The changes proposed by the company appear to suggest that new employees will not be subject to the current arbitration clause which binds current Rioters. The effect of this clause is that any Rioter who suffers from sexual harassment is forced to go through arbitration to resolve the issue. While Riot Games currently covers the cost of arbitration for its employees who have to undergo it, the fact remains that as a dispute resolution method, it is predicated on both the harasser and the victim being forced to interact for the duration of the process even if they have legal representation.
The press release has been reproduced here:
While the controversial Riot Games arbitration clause being removed from arrangements with future employees is a good initiative to implement, the reality is that it's not going to be put into effect until any current lawsuits between the company and employees have run their course. This means that there's essentially no projected timeframe for Riot to implement these changes or to effect meaningful change any time soon. While the press release notes the existence of a 30, 60, and 90-day plan respectively for its diversity initiative, the issue of how the company deals with sexual harassment remains on the table until existing litigation is wrapped up, and there's no real end period on that as details of any current lawsuits remain confidential.
Until there's an effective change from Riot Games regarding this mandatory arbitration for its employees who are victims of sexual harassment, the solutions being posed by the company are essentially hypothetical since they're conditional on existing lawsuits being dealt with. It's all well and good for the company to want to implement things like diversity training programs in the meantime and to commit to the bare minimum of interviewing diverse candidates for job openings, but it's no real solution to the cultural issues that have plagued League of Legends and the company's workplace sexism for quite some time now.
Source: Riot Games