Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination in Gaming Workplaces, and What It May Mean for You in New York

Women across almost all career fields have experienced sexual harassment. Recent news reports appear to indicate that, in many of the tech fields, workplaces are especially rife with sexual harassment. Whether you are a woman in a STEM field working in a workplace heavily dominated by men or you work in a place where the vast majority of employees are women, you are not immune from sexual harassment on the job. If that has happened to you, do not delay in getting in touch with a knowledgeable New York City sexual harassment lawyer.

Many people are familiar with the social media hashtag #gamergate, which refers to incidents of women in the gaming community being targeted for harassment and discrimination because of their gender. That problem of harassment and discrimination against women within the world of gaming, based on recent reports, extends beyond just online communities and also includes gaming workplaces.

One of the more recent examples of this problem within the field of gaming was a company based in Southern California. The alleged sexual harassment was so widespread that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) undertook a two-year investigation and, based on what the department found in that investigation, brought a lawsuit against the company this past summer, Slate reported.

Although the world of gaming is roughly split 50-50 between males and females, the workforce at the company’s Santa Monica headquarters was roughly 80% male. The company’s “top leadership” was 100% male, according to the lawsuit.

That manifested itself in a “pervasive ‘frat boy’ workplace culture” that management knew of and permitted. As part of that culture, male employees would often “engage in banter about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies, and joke about rape,” according to the complaint.

Additionally, male workers engaged in “cube crawls,” which allegedly involved a lot of alcohol and a lot of groping of female employees. Female workers at the company also allegedly had to “fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances” from both male coworkers and male supervisors.

One female worker at the office allegedly experienced “random male employees” approaching her workstation and commenting on her breasts. Another female employee allegedly experienced a particularly humiliating form of sexual harassment when, at a company party, male coworkers passed around a picture of her exposed genital area.

The department’s lawsuit was separate and distinct from another action – this one filed by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – related to sexual harassment at the Santa Monica-based gaming company’s workplace. (The company settled the EEOC lawsuit for $18 million in September, the New York Times reported.)

Similar Problems at Other Gaming Companies’ Workplaces

The problem within the industry is not unique to the company currently embroiled with litigation with the California agency. Back in 2018, the same agency took on a gaming company based in West Los Angeles. According to a Kotaru report, the sexual harassment women at that company endured included one who “saw an e-mail thread about what it would be like to” have sex with her, with one male coworker commenting that the woman would “be a good target to sleep with and not call again.”

Another learned that she was on a list, passed around by senior employees, of female employees that those senior employees desired to have sex with. Additionally, both “male and female sources have described seeing unsolicited and unwelcome pictures of male genitalia from bosses or colleagues,” the report said.

Your Legal Options Here in New York City are Now Stronger than Ever

Here in New York City, we have laws designed to provide strong protection to workers who experience sexual harassment on the job. Both New York State and New York City have prohibitions against harassment based on sex (in addition to those legal prohibitions established by federal law.) Furthermore, the law in New York State and New York City has been changed in recent years to make it less cumbersome for a harassed worker to make her case in court. The law no longer requires you, as the harassed worker, to prove that the harassment was either extreme (“severe”) or frequently recurring (“pervasive.”)

Instead, the law in both New York City and New York State now says that, once you’ve alleged that you have been harmed by sexual harassment on the job, the defense becomes responsible for proving that the harassment you alleged was not simply “petty slights” or “trivial inconveniences.”

Clearly, if you’re dealing with a workplace where men are groping you at company parties, commenting on your intimate body parts directly to your face at work, and being one of the candidates on a “which female coworker would you sleep with?” list, you’re dealing with something that has escalated beyond just petty slights or trivial inconveniences. Still, obtaining a successful result in a sexual harassment action requires you to clear additional hurdles in order to obtain a full recovery.

To help you get everything you deserve under the law, rely on the skilled New York sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates to be the effective legal advocate you need. No one should have to put up with sexual harassment on the job, and we’re here to be the powerful advocate you deserve. Contact us online or at (212) 248-7431 today to set up a free and confidential consultation right away.

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