Despite a walkout of hundreds of its employees last week, League of Legends publisher Riot Games said yesterday that they will not change their stance on forced arbitration. Protesting employees had given the company until yesterday to make a change, threatening to escalate their efforts if it did not.
“We know not everyone agrees with this decision, but we also know everyone does want Riot to continue to improve,” the company said in a blog post yesterday.
The walkout was inspired by Riot’s motion to force arbitration in the case of two current employees who filed a lawsuit alleging Riot violated California’s Equal Pay Act, following a Kotaku report on endemic sexism at the company. By their first day of work, employees at Riot waive their right to get any lawsuit against the company in front of a jury.
Recently, Google ended forced arbitration after 20,000 employees walked out. (Facebook, eBay and AirBnB followed suit.) The controversial practice has become a hot-button issue as employees at large tech companies argue that it prevents them from holding employers accountable for misbehaviour.
Prior to the walkout, Riot said that it would allow new employees to opt out of the arbitration agreement. They continued that they would consider extending that to current employees “as soon as current litigation is resolved”.
In a blog post yesterday, Riot announced that “Ultimately, given the complexities of ongoing litigation, we will not change our employee agreements while in active litigation.”
That was essentially a reiteration of their prior position, though they left the door open for change: “We remain committed to having a firm answer around extending an opt-out to all Rioters when active litigation concludes.”
At the walkout, employees announced they would escalate the issue if Riot didn’t make a commitment to end forced arbitration by May 16. Reached for comment, one walkout organiser, Jocelyn Monahan, speaking on behalf of the group, said they will be taking further action.
“We’re disappointed leadership doesn’t seem to be considering any major changes to their active policy. That said, we’re blown away by the passion, solidarity, and vulnerability that workers who support the walkout are showing,” she said in a message to Kotaku.
She continued, “As we continue to pressure Riot to end forced arbitration, we are leveraging that teamwork and solidarity by involving more coworkers in the effort.” Although Monahan was vague about their efforts’ next steps, it appears organisers will continue pushing Riot to end forced arbitration and come to a decision on how next week.