The games industry is in quite a state at the moment. Following Riot, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and others, the latest company to face allegations of gender discrimination is Sony Interactive Entertainment, after a former IT security analyst filed a lawsuit against the publisher and console manufacturer. According to Axios, the lawsuit was filed in California on Monday, November 22, 2021, and also includes allegations of wrongful termination.
Former Sony Interactive Entertainment IT security analyst Emma Majo joined the company in 2015. At the time, her department ratio was 3:2, males to females, but the gap between them became greater as years passed. Some managers (Director of Product Security Yuu Sugita was specifically named in the lawsuit) would not speak to female colleagues if male colleagues were in the same room. These managers would allegedly only respond to requests from male employees and some would also reportedly make discriminatory comments. Majo says she was passed over for promotions several times during the six years she was with Sony.
Sony has not yet commented on the lawsuit, though Majo claims in the lawsuit that Sony says she was terminated because an internal department was closed, however she claims she was not a part of that department at the time. Instead, Majo says she was terminated after submitting a gender bias complaint to Sony, and that they didn’t investigate her complaint properly.
Majo is now wanting to expand the lawsuit into a class action on behalf of nearly 40 other women who have worked at Sony over the last four years. She claims Sony violated the United States’ Equal Pay Act, stating: “Sony discriminates against female employees, including those who are female and those who identify as female, in compensation and promotion and subjects them to a work culture predominated by men.” She also alleges “Sony has failed to respond adequately or appropriately to evidence and complaints of discrimination.”
The allegations are the latest in a string of controversies to rock the gaming world detailing unsavory working conditions at many different studios, such as Telltale Games, BioWare, Rockstar Games, Riot Games, Naughty Dog, Ubisoft, Paradox Interactive, and Quantic Dream. The most prominent of these right now is the ongoing fallout over misconduct and toxic work culture issues at Activision. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan, along with Xbox head Phil Spencer and Nintendo boss Doug Bowser, have even made comments about Activision’s failure to address these problems, but it seems like Sony may not be entirely innocent itself.