Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent has been sued for sexual harassment lawsuit by a former assistant. The complaint was filed in LA County Superior Court on January 7 by Sharon O’Donnell, who is seeking damages for sexual discrimination, hostile environment harassment, and failure to pay wages.
O’Donnell, who reported directly to Laurent, was hired as an executive assistant in October 2017. She alleges a “pattern of harassing” began shortly after she started working for the company and “continued until the end of her employment” in July 2020.
O’Donnell, who claims she was wrongfully terminated, alleges that Laurent berated her, told her to be “more feminine,” and stared at her “in a sexual fashion when discussing his underwear.” She also claims that she was asked to work at his home while his wife was away and if she “could handle him when they were alone at his house.”
O’Donnell says that her refusal to work at his house was met with hostility and retaliation. Although she complained to Laurent and the HR department when her responsibilities were reduced, nothing changed and she was eventually fired.
O’Donnell also alleges that she was not properly paid for the hours she worked, including overtime, and was forced to skip lunch breaks. In her complaint, the former assistant has requested a trial by jury. Riot Games, which has not suspended Laurent, is reportedly investigating O’Donnell’s claims.
In a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, a Riot spokesperson said, “Over the past several years, workplace culture has been one of our top priorities and we’re proud of the steps we’ve taken to make Riot Games a great place to work.
“Core to giving Rioters confidence in our commitment to culture transformation is taking all allegations of harassment or discrimination very seriously, thoroughly investigating claims, and taking action against anyone who is found to have violated our policies.
“In this case, because some of the claims relate to an executive leader, a special committee of our Board of Directors is overseeing the investigation, which is being conducted by an outside law firm. Our CEO has pledged his full cooperation and support during this process, and we’re committed to ensuring that all claims are thoroughly explored and appropriately resolved.”
The spokesperson alleges that O’Donnell’s claims are “simply false” and that she was fired seven months ago “based on multiple well-documented complaints from a variety of people.” Riot Games is currently facing a class-action lawsuit for gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
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