In a lawsuit against one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, a former employee is alleging that she and other women were denied deserved promotions and ignored by male managers. She also alleges that management at Sony fired her in retaliation for bringing this systemic gender discrimination to their attention.
Managers accused of holding back, ignoring female staff
The lawsuit is against Sony Interactive Entertainment, a division of Sony that focuses on video games and digital entertainment. The Company is based in San Mateo, California. According to her lawsuit, she started working there in 2015 and lost her job earlier this year. In that time, she repeatedly asked (male?) managers for advice on how to earn a promotion but never got the requested assistance. Instead, she accuses the company’s Human Resources department of “losing track of females seeking promotion.” For these reasons, the plaintiff held the same job for more than five years without a single promotion.
Meanwhile, managers (who appear to have been mostly, if not entirely, male) seemed to go out of their way to ignore female employees. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s managers would ignore her when she would make a request but respond when a male employee made the same request. Once, after getting no response from a male manager, the plaintiff had a male intern make the same request. When he did so, the male manager acknowledged the request. One manager was allegedly so uncomfortable speaking to female subordinates that he would not be in the same room as one with the door closed. If another man was in the room, the manager would speak only to him and ignore the woman.
Position ‘eliminated’ or fired in retaliation?
The plaintiff says she sent a signed statement to Sony outlining her experiences of gender discrimination. Sony later sent her a letter informing her that she was fired because it was eliminating a specific department. The plaintiff says she did not work for that department, and its elimination does not explain her termination.
Though female workers in California have made great strides in the past several decades, women continue to be underrepresented in management in some industries. Qualified and experienced candidates for promotion get passed over for seemingly no other reason than they are women. And when they complain about this type of illegal practice, they risk demotion, harassment and termination.