Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Sony Interactive Entertainment Alleges Gender Discrimination and Bias

On Monday, November 22, 2021, a class action lawsuit was filed against Sony Interactive Entertainment. The complaint alleges that Sony “tolerates and cultivates” a workplace environment that discriminates against female employees.

The plaintiff in the case is Emma Majo, who began working at Sony in 2015. The complaint claims that Majo realized that she needed to send any work requests through a male “because if Plaintiff communicated directly to [her manager] the request would be ignored.” Majo “observed a bias against females at Sony.” She asked three separate managers how she could get promoted but “could not even get an answer to the question about what she could possibly do to get promoted.” The complaint alleges that, rather than getting an answer, Majo was effectively demoted since she “used to report to a VP; after asking about how to get promoted, she was then told to report to a manager below the VP.” Majo did not earn a promotion from 2015 to 2021.

Majo also “personally heard managers make gender-biased comments about female workers.” The complaint claims that Majo heard managers remarking about female workers with personal issues, but did not hear the same comments about male workers with personal issues. “This behavior construes women as more emotional and less professional than male colleagues.” In 2021, Majo submitted a signed statement detailing the gender bias she experienced while an employee at Sony. Shortly thereafter, she received a letter stating she was being terminated. While the letter claimed Majo was being terminated since Sony was eliminating a certain department, Majo “was not even a member of the department being dissolved.”

The class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The complaint, among other claims, alleges a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Acts of 1938, as amended by the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (denial of equal pay for equal work); a violation of the California Equal Pay Act; discrimination and harassment (unequal pay and failure to promote); failure to prevent and investigate discrimination and harassment; and wrongful termination. The complaint seeks relief in the form of penalties pursuant to the Labor Code, costs of suit and attorneys’ fees, compensatory damages, general damages, special damages, punitive damages, all wages due including prejudgment interest, liquidated damages, declaratory relief, restitution of monies due to Majo and the proposed class, disgorgement of Sony’s profits from its unlawful and/or unfair business practices, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, and orders requiring Sony to correct its behavior in multiple ways.

The class action lawsuit comes less than a week after Sony made news when Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, emailed employees condemning the alleged abusive behavior and harassment occurring at Activision Blizzard under CEO Bobby Kotick.

Additional Reading

PlayStation is facing a gender discrimination lawsuit, The Verge (November 23, 2021)

Majo v. Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC (Case No. 3:2021cv09054)

Complaint in Majo vs. Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC

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