Eight women strengthened this week the case of discrimination faced by Sony. Former PlayStation employees have joined a class action lawsuit that began in November 2021 in a California court that denounced the macho environment that existed in one of the video game giants. The company had asked the judge last month to dismiss the lawsuit due to the lack of details. In response, several former female employees came forward to describe a “toxic environment” where male chauvinism was rampant in US offices.
Last November, Emma Majo, a computer analyst, went to a California court to complain of wrongful termination and accuse the company of being sexist. In her brief, she assured that a male superior refused to answer her for the sole fact of being women and she was also unable to compete for raises and promotions due to a “male-dominated work culture.” The situation, she added, was not a personal issue but a general one in the company. It is not a solitary accusation in the video game industry. Ubisoft, Activision and Riot Games, developer of the popular League of Legends, have faced similar accusations.
His defense argued before the judge that many of the company’s workers had gone through similar situations and requested that the accusations be taken as a collective lawsuit, a form that allows several complainants to be added to a single legal case seeking compensation for A damage. The judge set a deadline for Majo’s defense to support the sayings with names and surnames.
The testimony of the eight women arrived when the aforementioned term was about to expire. Among them was Marie Harrington, who had worked 16 years at Sony and for her star console. She said that her experience had made it clear to her that the company did not consider enough women for management positions. In a meeting to profile middle managers, four candidates faced seventy men for a position.
Kara Johnson, another of the employees who have joined Majo’s complaint, assured that PlayStation has not developed sufficient actions to counter what it considers a “toxic environment.” Johnson left the company in January 2021. She was one of a dozen workers who quit within four months, which to her is a symptom of a deep and neglected problem. In a farewell letter to her colleagues, she listed some of the discriminatory behaviors that she observed due to the omission of the Human Resources staff, including the treatment of pregnant women.
Sony argued in February that Majo’s complaint had failed to identify “a single policy, practice or procedure” from which the alleged sex discrimination emerged. The judge will assess the testimonies that have been added this week to the class action lawsuit at a hearing to be held in April.
PlayStation is under great pressure in the industry after of the purchase of Activision Blizzard by XBox and Microsoft. Bobby Kotick, the CEO of that company, has been facing an investigation by the regulatory authorities since last September for the internal handling of allegations of workplace harassment and discrimination. The studio known for developing hits like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush is also being investigated by California authorities for the case of at least six former employees, who left Blizzard complaining of a work culture “similar to a university fraternity.”
Ubisoft, the home of Assassin’s Creed, a successful game that has given way to screens, has also been dragging lawsuits for two years for mistreatment and harassment of some employees in the offices of Singapore, Canada and France. The scandal forced a company with 20,000 employees to sing a mea culpa and fire three of its most important executives, including the head of global human resources, Cécile Cornet, and the top creative position, held by Serge Hascöet, who He has been described by the specialized video game press as one of the “most toxic personalities in the industry”. He now seems to have come the turn of Sony.