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A former Niantic employee has filed suit against the California-based game studio for allegedly discriminating against its female employees. She accuses Niantic of fostering a “boys club” where female employees are paid less and given less guidance than male employees of the same or lower rank. According to a report from The Verge, she’s seeking class-action status to include other employees who may have been affected.
The former employee remains anonymous, but began work for Niantic in 2020. She learned within a year of being hired that she was paid less than a male employee despite having more responsibilities and a higher position within the company. She allegedly later spoke with other female employees and discovered she was not alone in this regard, but the studio’s leadership reacted poorly to the issue being brought up. “Jane Doe” was one of the employees let go in Niantic’s recent layoffs.
The complaint says it’s about “systemic sexual bias at Niantic.” Niantic is not the only company about which such allegations have been made. In 2021, Activision Blizzard faced a lawsuit from a California regulatory body for having a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination (also referred to multiple times as a “boy’s club” or a fraternity-like environment). Riot Games also this year received final approval on a settlement for a similar gender discrimination lawsuit.
Niantic’s recent layoffs reportedly reflect the company’s intention to focus more of its efforts on Pokémon GO and the games such as the recently launched Peridot. It announced it’s sunsetting NBA All World and cancelling development on Marvel: World of Heroes. The company laid off 230 employees during this restructure.
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