Eight women have joined former Sony PlayStation employee Emma Majo in her proposed class-action lawsuit against the company for sexual discrimination. As spotted by Axios, this development follows an effort by Sony to have the lawsuit dismissed for lack of evidence.
It would seem that there is in fact, much more evidence.
One veteran employee named Marie Harrington described conditions at the company that saw women receive fewer opportunities when employees were considered for senior roles. She allegedly heard comments about female candidates' family lives that were not aimed at male candidates who also had families.
According to the class-action lawsuit, Harrington tried to get Sony to make changes as far back as 2018. She e-mailed a New York Times article about the alleged toxic work culture at Nike to company leadership and asked "Can we address this before PlayStation has its own national news article?"
Former program manager Kara Johnson wrote that "I believe Sony is not equipped to appropriately handle toxic environments." She departed the company's Rancho Bernardo office in the wake of 10 other women in January 2022 after sending a letter to the company citing her failed attempts to notify her superiors about alleged gender bias and discrimination.
There is a pattern across Majo, Johnson, and Harrington's stories that center around the company's San Diego-area offices. Where stories about alleged abuse at other game companies have focused on alleged physical harassment and verbal abuse toward employees, Sony stands accused of much quieter--but equally sinister--behavior.
The company's human resources department appears to be cast in the spotlight, and more about its internal practices will likely become public as this lawsuit proceeds.
Such practices may cast a foul light on Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan's comments about the various accusations lobbed against Activision Blizzard. It's hard to take companies seriously when they say they want to make safe workplaces but in fact may have been creating discriminatory ones all along.