Riot employees consider walkout amidst continued frustration

Olivia R. April 30, 2019

Riot's decision to block gender discrimination lawsuits under the protection of arbitration causes has sparked outrage within the company's Santa Monica office. When employees found out that the League of Legend developer was preventing two former employees from suing under the controversial practice, many began more seriously considering a walkout. 

Media outlet Waypoint granted anonymity to employees that wanted to speak out against the company. They informed the news source that a walkout "has been brewing among a number of folks" ever since the initial investigation into Riot's toxic culture and sexist work place environment. Now, they believe leadership has failed to be transparent, which has only strengthened their decision of possibly staging a walkout. 

The walkout threat prompted Riot's new chief diversity officer, Agenla Roseboro, to address the employees privately on Slack over the weekend. 

"We recognize some Rioters are not feeling heard. We want to open up a dialogue on Monday [today] and invite Rioters to join us for small group sessions where we can talk through your concerns, and provide as much context as we can about where we've landed and why," Roseboro wrote. 

She included a spreadsheet for employees to sign up for small sessions, where she promised "candid dialogue." 

Unfortunately, her response only served to further anger the disgruntled employees. One of the anonymous Rioters stated that the backlash to her "focus sessions" was because it was "yet another example of closed-door discussions instead of transparency." 

Instead, Rioters just want to know what leadership is doing to improve. This includes the continued employment of the company's COO, Scott Gelb, who had allegedly humped employees in company offices. 

"I know yesterday's article about Riot's motion to compel arbitration feels like we're not moving forward. And I have to say for me, it demonstrates we still have work to do. There are pros, cons, and nuances to the discussion of arbitration," Roseboro continued. 

She told the employees over Slack that the best way to deal with these "complex" topics is by having a live discussion. 

According to Emma Kinema, a labor organizer at Game Workers Unite, forced arbitration clauses simply "silence workers." She told Waypoint that a walkout "takes great courage," and she feels that Rioters are currently inspiring the rest of the video game industry. 

Improved labor conditions have become a serious discussion in the gaming industry, with developers like Epic Games coming under scrutiny for overworking their employees.