A former employee of Riot Games has named the company and its CEO Nicolo Laurent in a new lawsuit alleging that he engaged in sexual harassment and gender discrimination which led to her termination. The 18-page lawsuit filed by former executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell in Los Angeles County Superior Court in January, claims that Laurent created a “hostile work environment” by allegedly engaging in a variety of misconduct including making unwanted sexual advances, demeaning comments about gender, asking the plaintiff to travel with him, and work with him at his home when his wife wasn’t there, among numerous other accusations listed in the complaint.
O’Donnell claims that she was stripped of her duties when she rebuffed these alleged advances, and was eventually fired in July 2020. O’Donnell worked with the League of Legends and Valorant developer from October 2017 to July 2020.
A Riot spokesperson in a statement to The Washington Post denied the allegations, claiming instead that O’Donnell was fired for cause.
“The plaintiff was dismissed from the company over seven months ago based on multiple well-documented complaints from a variety of people. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false,” the spokesperson told The Washington Post in a statement. In a follow-up statement, a spokesperson added that O’Donnell “was terminated following more than a dozen complaints from both employees and external partners” after multiple attempts to address concerns.
Riot Games also said in a statement issued to multiple outlets, including The Verge, that it is investigating accusations against Laurent through an outside third-party.
O’Donnell’s lawsuit follows a legal challenge by Riot in late January to force plaintiffs in a long-running class-action gender discrimination lawsuit to go through individual arbitration. The lawsuit was settled in late 2019 for $10M USD, but after several California state labor agencies said that the women involved could be entitled to over $400M, the plaintiffs hired new legal representation to pursue the matter further. The settlement has not yet been paid out.
FortuneZ has reached out to Riot Games for further comment and will update this story if more information comes to light.