Riot Games draws ire from workers after vaccine and mask mandates lifted

Workers at Riot Games’ Los Angeles branch are feeling uneasy after the company’s decision to lift its vaccine mandate. In addition to requiring employees to wear masks, the mandate required workers who could not provide proof of vaccination to submit to testing. This follows the announcement that Riot would call its employees back to the office, marking a dramatic shift in policy from the remote model the company has adopted in response to the pandemic.

The word comes from a report by Waypoint which details the frustration felt by company employees who consider themselves endangered by the policy change despite the lifting of the vaccination mandate being in full compliance with the orders of public health.

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“In accordance with Los Angeles County health orders, Riot strongly encourages but does not require all individuals to wear face coverings while on Riot property,” a company spokesperson explained. “That said, we know some rioters will feel more comfortable wearing masks and we want our campus to be a place where people feel safe to take the precautions that best suit their needs. We encourage rioters to have open communication and to be empathetic and accommodating to colleagues who prefer to mask themselves.”

Workers, meanwhile, expressed doubts about the new policy. Two current employees and a former employee have come forward on condition of anonymity to criticize the decision, stressing that the decision places all the blame on workers rather than management when it comes to stopping the spread of the disease . “I’m angry,” said a company employee. “It’s a stupid, unnecessary policy that’s being conducted at the wrong time and being run with no real guarantee of our safety. We’re just playing Russian roulette with the health of the Rioters.


Employees who came forward criticized the return to work at the office. “Returning to the office has always been on Rioters’ minds as we navigate 2020 and 2021 in a work-from-home environment,” explained a former employee who left the company due to the policy change. “There are signs strongly encouraging social distancing everywhere, but no practical way to do it at lunch,” said one worker. “There just isn’t enough space. They have set up a huge range of additional outdoor seating, but the indoor seating is always packed.

“I feel like Riot management has invested a lot in a big campus so they feel they have to use the big campus,” said a current employee.



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“While we hate to lose valuable team members, we always expected some Rioters to choose to leave because they wanted to work remotely on a permanent basis,” a spokesperson noted. “Reasonable accommodation based on medical needs is part of a formalized process that is managed by the benefits team. If a rioter believes there are circumstances preventing them from returning to campus, such as certain medical conditions or medical care responsibilities, we encourage them to share those concerns with their manager and human resources business partner to discuss accommodations or time off. available according to their specific needs.

It comes just days after a similar policy change was attempted at Activision Blizzard, resulting in workers leaving and the company reversing its course on the issue. “With ongoing discussions about returning to the office coupled with the lifting of vaccine testing policies, it was clear that we were not going to be immune to the transmission of covid,” said Ada-Claire Cripps, senior software engineer. “We want to be heard and historically all methods of communication with senior management have been silently ignored.”

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