Workplace discrimination and harassment based on sex and gender characteristics is unlawful in California. Further, any employer who engages — or allows — gender-based discrimination and/or harassment will face civil lawsuits and government enforcement actions through administrative proceedings. Employers can and will be brought to justice and victims of discrimination and harassment can obtain significant money damages as compensation.
A case in point is the litigation against Riot Games, owned by Tencent Holdings, LLC., that began in 2018. As reported here, Riot Games has agreed to pay a $100 million settlement to 2,365 women who were or are still working for Riot Games since 2014. The case began after a media report published by a gaming site called Kotaku about the “culture of sexism at Riot Games. After the Kotaku article, Riot Games basically admitted the allegations. As quoted in the CNN article linked above, Riot Games issued this statement on social media:
“We’re sorry that Riot hasn’t always been—or wasn’t—the place we promised you. And we’re sorry it took so long for us to hear you. In the days, weeks, months, years to come, we’re going to make Riot a place we can all be proud of.”
In 2018 the California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) began an investigation and, eventually, a class-action lawsuit was also filed by the victims. The DFEH and the victims accused Riot Games of discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and unequal pay. California law makes it unlawful for employer to retaliate against workers who complain about discrimination/harassment. California law also makes it unlawful to pay women less for a comparable job than they pay to men. Full-time, part-time and temporary contract workers were among the women that joined the class action. Discrimination and harassment is also prohibited against contract workers and independent contractors.
Originally, Riot Games offered to pay about $10 million to settle the lawsuit. But the settlement was rejected by the court as being insufficient. Now, Riot Games will settle the case for 10 times that amount. The victims will receive about $80 million with the remaining going to the State of California for penalties and for attorneys’ fees. Going forward, Riot Games has also agreed to set aside about $18 million for pay adjustments and to fund diversity and inclusion training and programs. Further, Riot Games will be required to hire a third-party monitoring company to audit and investigate claims of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
As can been seen by the Riot Games example, employers that have a “culture of sexism” can — and will — be punished under California law. Further, victims can — and will — receive just and significant compensation for the harassment/discrimination that they have suffered. California law has strong legal protections for workers.
Contact Experienced California Employment Discrimination and Harassment Attorneys
For more information or if you have been the victim of employment discrimination and/or harassment, contact our Irvine discrimination lawyers at Guardian Litigation Group. We have the tools and legal experience necessary to protect you and bring your employer to justice. Our Mission is to provide unparalleled legal services for our clients. We can be reached via our contact page or by phone at (949) 569-9006.