Pokémon Go developer Niantic created a ‘sexist boys club’ environment, new lawsuit says
A former employee pokemon go creator Niantic is suing the company over alleged gender discrimination and sexism that are “systemically devaluing[s]the work of women – especially women of color. the lawsuit, first reported by The Vergeseeks class action status to include other people affected by what it calls Niantic’s “boys’ club.”
The former employee is identified as Jane Doe, an Asian woman who worked for the company from 2020 until last week when Niantic laid off 230 people and stopped producing and supporting several games, including NBA All World And Marvel: World of Heroes. Doe claimed that other women at the company are discriminated against when it comes to pay, promotion and value, but also that Niantic’s leadership is hostile to people who raise these issues.
When Doe was hired at the company in 2020, she earned $70,000 before getting a promotion and raise in 2021 – to $84,000. That year, she learned that a male co-worker, “an apprentice,” had been hired at higher pay despite her having “more tenure as an employee, more responsibilities, and a higher job title.” The male co-worker continued to earn a higher salary through 2022, being paid more than $20,000 more than her, despite still holding a higher title. In 2023, Doe saw a vacancy for her same position, again, at a salary scale higher than her salary; she confirmed with another male colleague in the same role that he was paid within the band.
When Doe raised these issues with Niantic’s Diversity and Inclusion leadership, she left the meeting “out of fear of losing her job,” she claimed, after being told her evaluation was – and would remain – at Niantic – influenced by speaking out about problems in the workplace. Niantic continued to discourage employees from discussing sexism in the workplace, she said, after the company’s women’s group, called Wolfpack, released a survey asking about Niantic’s culture. That survey found that “many” women at the company saw a “sexist work culture” with unequal pay at Niantic. Niantic chief marketing officer Mike Quigely reportedly told the group to remove comments about sexism from the presentation, and advised the group to stop hosting surveys.
“Niantic’s treatment of its female employees, including Plaintiff, sent a message to them that they were not valued at Niantic and would be held back in the workplace because they are women and/or women of color,” Doe’s lawyers said in the lawsuit. “Niantic’s treatment of its female employees who raised concerns about discrimination in the workplace also sent a message to them that Niantic would not tolerate any opposition or concern about the way women were treated there.”
Doe alleged that Niantic’s corporate culture violates equal pay, discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation laws. She is seeking a jury to award damages to all affected people, including for loss of wages related to the alleged discrimination issues that have left women underpaid and prevented from promotion.
Niantic started under Google in 2010 and went independent in 2015; the first augmented reality game was that of 2021 Enterfor pokemon go arrived in 2015. In addition to its games, Niantic is also building Lightship, an augmented-reality technology platform for use by third-party developers. Niantic is also responsible for Picmin Bloom, peridotAnd Monster hunter now. It has stopped developing and supporting several games in recent years, including Harry Potter: Wizards unite And Transformers: heavy metalnext NBA All World And Marvel: World of Heroes which were terminated in addition to last week’s extensive layoff.
Niantic has not responded to Polygon’s request for comment on the allegations.