The developer behind League of Legends, Riot Games, is reportedly starting to require employees to return to the office. Starting this week, Riot Games is pushing employees at the Los Angeles headquarters to return on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; whereas, Mondays and Fridays will be flexible work-from-home days. However, this current plan is malleable as “demands and needs of individual projects” will dictate the actual schedule and which employees have to return. On top of this return to the office order, Riot Games will also reportedly drop their mask and vaccine mandate, much to the disgruntlement of Riot Games employees.
Not only will Riot Games drop the mask and vaccine mandate, but will also terminate most of their COVID-19 protocols. Alongside the lifting of mandates, Riot Games will now reportedly not require unvaccinated employees to be regularly tested for COVID-19. While Riot Games is following California COVID-19 guidelines, which no longer requires people to be masked indoors for most places, California government guidelines still recommend masks for crowded indoor establishments. Furthermore, these California guidelines are for current COVID-19 pandemic levels, meaning the California government would likely require masks again if the outbreaks were to rise. Also, Riot Games does have masks available for employees to use and requires employees to wear Radio-frequency identification badges (RFID) for contact tracing.
Although Riot Games is adhering to “WHO, CDC, OSHA, state and local health authorities,” Riot Games employees are still upset over this new company policy. Several employees spoke to Vice regarding the new policies, and many expressed disappointment. One employee stated, “It’s a foolish and pointless policy being done at a poor time, and being handled without real guarantee of our safety. We’re just playing Russian roulette with Rioters’ health.” Another stated that, while employees are allowed to ask others to put on a mask, the time it takes for the employees to find and put on masks cuts into precious time within meetings, which will be remembered as the requester’s fault. Additionally, several employees have already resigned over being forced to return to the office with little to no protection against COVID-19. With this growing frustration over lack of employee protection against COVID-19, Riot Games could potentially experience a walkout similar to Activision Blizzard.