Mar 16, 2022 - Technology

PlayStation acknowledges workplace misconduct allegations

Photo of a TV with a PS5 controller on it. A controller also appears, held by someone off-camera

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sony says it takes recent misconduct allegations by eight current and former PlayStation workers “seriously” in a new legal filing, though it otherwise pushes back at a lawsuit claiming widespread gender discrimination at the gaming giant.

Why it matters: This was Sony’s first acknowledgment of the claims that were raised last week.

  • In those declarations, women who have worked at PlayStation and Sony Online Entertainment provided scores of allegations regarding failures to promote women, indifferent or hostile human resources officials and demeaning comments.
  • One mentioned a senior manager attempting to grope her; another recalled being told by a colleague that her wearing a skirt was distracting.
  • Their declarations were meant to amplify former PlayStation security analyst Emma Majo’s November lawsuit alleging PlayStation has a systemic sexism problem.
  • Majo is trying to broaden the suit into a class action on behalf of all women who’ve worked for PlayStation in the U.S.

“To be sure, SIE takes the substance of the newly submitted declarations seriously,” the company’s lawyers said in yesterday’s filing, referring to PlayStation by the acronym for its official corporate name.

  • “Although most are by former employees who no longer work at SIE, SIE either has addressed or will address the issues raised in them in due course, as SIE values its female employees and takes proactive steps to ensure they have every opportunity to thrive and be heard.”

Yes, but: Sony is conceding nothing in its legal fight with Majo and wants the case dismissed.

  • Lawyers slammed her original filing, saying it was light on facts that Sony had systemic issues with gender discrimination in terms of pay and promotion, which are central to Majo’s claim.
  • They say Majo’s newer filing, which accompanied the women’s declarations, doesn’t change that.
  • Sony’s argument is that nothing offered yet shows there were policies or across-the-board imbalances impacting how women were treated at PlayStation.

What’s next: A hearing on Sony’s request to dismiss the case is set for mid-April.

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