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Riot Games Gets Go-Ahead to Talk Settlement in Gender Bias Suit

Oct. 2, 2021, 12:13 AM

Women suing Riot Games Inc., a unit of Tencent Holdings Ltd., for harassment and pay discrimination got the go-ahead on Friday to schedule settlement talks with the game maker in a Los Angeles court.

The women filed claims against Riot in 2018, alleging the company denied them equal pay and promotions, and subjected them to sexual harassment.

A proposed settlement in 2019 was taken off the table. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which intervened in the suit following its own investigation into Riot Games, said the proposed agreement would have under-compensated female employees.

The agency later accused Riot of using secret settlements with certain class members to prevent employees from speaking with state regulators, and said the League of Legends-creator had delayed handing over employee data.

DFEH filed an emergency order with the Los Angeles Superior Court in early September, seeking to block any settlement conferences, requests for settlement approval, or dismissal of the case until certain “jurisdiction issues and discovery issues are resolved.”

According to attorneys for the class, the state’s attempt to remove one of the plaintiffs from the litigation and to block settlement talks is part of a broader effort to take control of the suit’s outcome.

Judge Elihu M. Berle granted the request to schedule a mandatory settlement conference, ordering Riot and the women to schedule talks before Judge Daniel Buckley in Los Angeles.

“Common sense, decency, and professionalism still matter,” Genie Harrison, who represents the women said in reference to the order. “We look forward to complying with the Court’s order and to achieving justice for the women of Riot Games.”

Riot declined to comment on the order. DFEH didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment Friday evening.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP represents Riot. The Genie Harrison Law Firm APC and JML Law APLC represent the women.

The case is McCracken v. Riot Games, Cal. Super. Ct., No. 18STCV03957, 10/1/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maeve Allsup in San Francisco at mallsup@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Meghashyam Mali at mmali@bloombergindustry.com

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