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Riot Games sued for alleged gender discrimination

The complaint alleges a "sexually-hostile work environment" for women at the video game company.

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Riot Games has been accused of gender discrimination.

Chesnot / Getty Images

Current and former employees of video game maker Riot Games filed a lawsuit against the company Tuesday, alleging unequal pay, discrimination and a "sexually-hostile work environment," among other things. 

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, describes an "unwritten policy and practice of preferring men to women in the hiring, promotion, and compensation of its employees." The plaintiffs are seeking penalties, including unpaid wages. 

"These women were denied equal pay and opportunities and were discouraged from speaking out by threats of termination. This lawsuit allows them the opportunity to have their voices heard," said Ryan D. Saba, one of the attorneys for plaintiffs Melanie McCracken and Jessica Negron in a statement. He added that "the days of sexually charged, men-first, fraternity-type work environments are over."

Also in a statement, Corporate Communications Lead for Riot Games Joe Hixson said, "While we do not discuss the details of ongoing litigation, we can say that we take every allegation of this nature seriously and investigate them thoroughly."

The complaint comes after an August investigation from Kotaku brought to light allegations of a working environment fraught with sexual harassment. 

Riot Games is one of the latest companies to come under fire for having a work environment hostile toward women. Within in the industry, such a work environment is listed among many reasons women leave the industry or don't want to join in the first place.

In a blog post following the Kotaku report, the League of Legends maker issued an apology. "As a company, we're used to patching problems ASAP, but this patch will not happen overnight," the company said in August, adding that diversity, inclusion, respect and equality are nonnegotiable.

First published Nov. 7 at 10:17 a.m. PT.
Update at 11:06 a.m. PT: Adds comment from plaintiffs' lawyer.
Update 11:22 a.m. PT: Adds comment from Riot Games. 

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