Feb 23, 2022 - Technology

Sony asks court to dismiss ex-PlayStation worker’s harassment lawsuit

Photo of a PlayStation logo and symbols representing PlayStation controller buttons
Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A proposed class-action lawsuit against Sony over alleged discrimination of women lacks sufficient facts and would put some female PlayStation workers in conflict with themselves, a lawyer for the game maker argued in a legal filing Tuesday.

Driving the news: Sony is asking the court to dismiss the suit, filed by former PlayStation IT security analyst Emma Majo, and is denying any wrongdoing.

  • “Despite the sweeping breadth of her lawsuit, the allegations in which SIE categorically denies, she fails to plead facts to support either her individual claims or the claims of the broad-based classes of women she seeks to represent,” the company’s lawyer wrote. SIE stands for Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Between the lines: Sony's pushback largely consists of relentless criticism of a lack of facts, damning or otherwise, in the Majo suit.

  • Majo had alleged that Sony systematically paid women less than men for similar work and she was ignored by male superiors. She said she'd been passed over for promotions before being fired last year after submitting a gender bias complaint to the company.
  • In response, Sony says Majo "fails to identify a single policy, practice or procedure at SIE that allegedly formed the basis of any widespread intentional discrimination or had a discriminatory impact on women."
  • Sony says Majo's "widespread claims of harassment are based solely on unactionable allegations of run-of-the-mill personnel activity."

What else they're saying: Sony argues that Majo’s attempted class-action suit would contain an inherent conflict of interest in her effort to include all women who worked for PlayStation.

  • Sony's filing notes that "all" of Majo's managers since 2017 were women, including those who would have contributed to the alleged harassment.
  • Yet, the lawyer says, they would be included in the suit against Sony, creating "irreconcilable conflicts of interest."

The big picture: Scrutiny of gender discrimination in major video game companies has intensified in recent years, following an investigation and landmark lawsuit against League of Legends maker Riot Games.

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