State ramps up gender-bias investigation of Riot

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed an investigation enforcement action on Wednesday against Riot Games, publisher of League of Legends, as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged gender discrimination.

In a news release, the DFEH said the investigation relates to "alleged unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault, retaliation and gender discrimination in selection and promotion." The release added that the Los Angeles-based company has refused to provide adequate information for the department to analyze whether women are paid less than men at the company.

"DFEH has broad authority to investigate potential violations of California's civil rights laws similar to grand jury proceedings," DFEH director Kevin Kish said in a statement. "When companies fail to cooperate voluntarily with our investigations, including with our investigative discovery, DFEH will exercise its right to seek assistance from the courts. Doing so ensures our investigations are informed by relevant evidence and completed without unnecessary delay."

The enforcement suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, which has jurisdiction to compel requirement with DFEH document requests.

In August, allegations of rampant sexism within Riot Games emerged, and an investigation was opened in October.

In December, COO Scott Gelb was suspended two months without pay.

In May, nearly 200 employees staged a walkout over corporate handling of sexual harassment and discrimination cases, which included two active lawsuits. Riot Games had argued that two wrongful termination suits should be resolved in private arbitration because the women involved waived their rights to sue the company when they were hired.

Following the walkout, the company said it wasn't planning to change how it conducts business until active litigation was settled.

-- Field Level Media