Sony targeted in escalating gender discrimination lawsuit

Eight women have added their voice to a lawsuit filed in November. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

In November, a lawsuit was filed against Sony Interactive Entertainment alleging gender discrimination and wrongful termination. As reported by Axios at the time, the suit was filed by Emma Majo, a former IT security analyst for PlayStation, who said she was fired after speaking up about perceived inequity at the company. Following the initial filing, Sony asked the court to dismiss the suit. This request is still pending.

Earlier this month, eight more women--via statements to Majo’s lawyer--added their voices to accusations that SIE does not offer the same career growth opportunities to women as it does to men. 

“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,” the original filing alleges, citing the US Equal Pay Act.

Sony has said that the Majo’s suit “fails to plead facts to support either her individual claims or the claims of the broad-based classes of women she seeks to represent.” Eight more women speaking out is substantial, though, and only strengthens Majo’s case, according to business attorney Richard Hoeg. Still, there are several hurdles remaining for the plaintiffs if they want to turn the filing into a full class action case.

“To have a class action you have to show a number of things, but numerosity and similarity of standing (factual and legal issues) are significant factors,” Hoeg told GameDaily. “Unfortunately, while it seems that at least some of the declarants likely were negatively affected in some ways, it’s not clear that the stories presented are similar enough or rise to the level of a legal issue, so proving failing systems is still going to be very difficult.”

With eight more women speaking out, Sony will certainly have to treat the claims with a fair bit more care--the company has already acknowledged this conceit--but Hoeg expects that the plaintiff will still need more evidence to ultimately succeed.

Majo claims that she was overlooked and ignored by managers at SIE who only responded to men. She also states that she was passed over for promotions and was fired after submitting a gender bias complaint, and that other women at the company have had similar experiences. 

A hearing for the case is scheduled for April that will determine if it will progress to a class action suit.

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Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at  sdesatoff@rektglobal.com or follow him on Twitter.