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Riot Games employees walk out to protest forced arbitration

Walkout comes after reports that female employees were subjected to sexual harassment.

riot-games-headquarters

Riot Games headquarters in Los Angeles.

Chris Yunker/Flickr

More than 100 employees of Riot Games, the company behind League of Legends, joined a staged walkout Monday to protest the use of forced arbitration to resolve sexual harassment claims.

"This is an action we intended specifically to target forced arbitration," Jocelyn Monahan, a social listening strategist at Riot Games and one of the organizers of the walkout, told Vice. "We're asking forced arbitration be ended for all past, current, and future riot employees including contractors and also in current litigation."

Riot Games is one of the latest companies to be publicly outed for an internal culture unfriendly to women. In another high-profile instance, Uber came under scrutiny for sexual harassment. In the larger tech industry, hostile work environments are cited among a laundry list of reasons why women leave tech or don't even get near it at all.

The walkout, which had reportedly been in the works since late April, follows an August story from Kotaku alleging a sexist work environment where women's opinions were discounted and female employees were subjected to sexual harassment.

The company announced on Wednesday that future employees could opt out of forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault claim, but that existing lawsuits would still be subject to the arbitration process.

"As soon as current litigation is resolved, we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims," Riot said in a statement Wednesday. "At that time, we will also commit to have a firm answer around expanding the scope and extending this opt-out to all Rioters."

Riot said it knew the decision wouldn't be popular with all of its employees.

"We understand and respect Rioters who choose to protest this decision on Monday, and admire their conviction and willingness to stand up for their beliefs," it said.

Riot said Monday it supported employees who chose to walk out Monday.

"We support Rioters making their voices heard today," Riot said in a statement. "We have asked all managers to make every accommodation to allow Rioters to participate during the 2-4pm window, including freeing up meeting times. We respect Rioters who choose to walk out today and will not tolerate retaliation of any kind as a result of participating (or not).

"As soon as active litigation is resolved, we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims," Riot said. "At that time, we will also commit to have a firm answer on potentially expanding the scope and extending this opt-out to all Rioters."