In November, former PlayStation IT security analyst Emma Majo filed a lawsuit against Sony, claiming that the company discriminated against women on an institutional level. Majo alleged that she was fired because she spoke out about gender bias at the studio, noting that she was fired shortly after submitting a signed statement to management detailing the sexism she experienced there.
Majo then filed the paperwork to turn her case into a class-action lawsuit, and last month Sony tried to have it dismissed, saying her allegations were too vague to withstand legal scrutiny. In addition, Sony’s lawyers said no other women were coming forward with similar claims.
Today, eight additional women joined the lawsuit against Sony. The new plaintiffs are current and former employees, and only one of them has chosen to remain anonymous. One plaintiff, Marie Harrington, worked at Sony for 17 years and eventually became senior director of program management and chief of staff to senior vice president of engineering George Cacciopo.
“When I left Sony, I told Senior Vice President and Human Resources Director Rachel Ghadban in the Rancho Bernardo office that the reason I left was because of systemic sexism against women,” Harrington said in a statement. “The human resources director simply said, ‘I understand. She did not ask for more information. I had spoken with the human resources director several times before about sexism against women.
Harrington said that women were overlooked for promotions and said that during annual review sessions, Sony Interactive Entertainment engineering managers rarely discussed female employees as potential “high performers.” She said that at their April 2019 session, only four of the 70 employees reviewed were women, and while all of the men in that group were marked as high performers, only two of the women were.
“In addition, when two of the women were discussed, the managers spent time discussing the fact that they had families,” reads Harrington’s statement. “Family status was never discussed for the men.”
The remaining women shared similar stories in their statements, with the common theme being the lack of opportunities for female employees to advance and systemic favoritism toward male employees. The complainants alleged that male Sony managers made derogatory comments, including “just marry rich” and “I find that women in general can’t take criticism.”
One complainant alleged that on a work trip to E3, her supervisor tricked her into having a drink with him at the hotel bar, hit on her even after she declined, and told other employees that “he was going to try to ‘hit that. ’ ” Another complainant shared a story about a gender equality meeting at Sony that had a panel of five people, all men.