**NIANTIC SUED BY FORMER EMPLOYEE FOR SEXISM AND EQUAL PAY DISCRIMINATION**
A former employee of Niantic, the AR gaming company behind Pokémon Go, has filed a lawsuit alleging sexism and unequal pay. The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, accuses the company of devaluing the work of female employees and women of color, as well as denying them equal pay. The employee, known as Jane Doe, claims that she was laid off as part of the recent job cuts at Niantic, which affected around 230 staff members.
According to the complaint, Jane Doe started working at Niantic in February 2020 with a salary of $70,000. She was later promoted and received a raise to approximately $84,000 in the same year. However, she discovered in 2021 that a male colleague with a lower job title and fewer responsibilities was earning more than her. While her salary increased over time, with a raise to $115,000 per year, it remained below that of her male colleague, who was allegedly earning $127,000 per year.
In addition to unequal pay, Jane Doe also learned that she was being paid more than $10,000 below the bottom end of the pay range for her job title and level, as disclosed by Niantic in accordance with California’s pay transparency law. When she raised concerns about sexism and equal pay within the company’s employee resources group for women, Wolfpack, the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director and Principal People Partner allegedly dismissed her complaints. They also claimed that her job evaluations were influenced by her discussions of workplace issues with colleagues and suggested that she was paid less because of her involvement with Wolfpack.
According to the lawsuit, a survey conducted by Wolfpack revealed that many female employees viewed Niantic as a sexist work culture that disadvantaged them, and the majority expressed concerns about equal pay. However, when these survey findings were shared with upper management, Niantic’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Quigley, reportedly insisted that references to sexism and the “boys club” be removed from the presentation.
The lawsuit against Niantic is the latest legal action taken by female employees against major gaming companies, following similar allegations against Activision Blizzard and Riot Games. Activision Blizzard was sued by the state of California in 2021 for fostering a culture of persistent sexual harassment, while Riot Games agreed to pay $100 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit.
Niantic has not yet responded to requests for comment regarding the lawsuit. The company recently faced a series of layoffs, with CEO John Hanke emphasizing a renewed focus on its popular game, Pokémon Go. Despite its success, Niantic has struggled to replicate this achievement with other games, leading to the discontinuation of titles based on Harry Potter, Catan, and its NBA game.