Sony Accused of Racial Bias by Black Manager Who Was Fired

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Sony Corp. was sued for discrimination and retaliation by a Black former account manager who claims she suffered a pattern of racial slurs and sabotage of her work after she complained to human resources about a lack of support from management.

Duwanikia “Monica” Hill claims her treatment worsened after she asked to participate in a Sony-produced video for Black History Month, ultimately leading to her termination, according to a suit filed Wednesday in state court in San Diego. Hill says her experience suggests she was hired to fill a diversity quota and that retaliation was her punishment for speaking up.

“This retaliation campaign included attempting to destroy Hill’s reputation, sabotaging her job performance, subjecting her to constant hostile dialog and false statements about her behind her back, and making patronizing written communications,” according to a statement issued on behalf of her law firm.

Sony said it doesn’t comment on confidential personnel matters but takes complaints seriously and investigates them thoroughly.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are core to Sony, locally, regionally and globally,” spokeswoman Rosemary Flynn Smith said in an email. “We hire all of our employees with a committed focus to their success.”

Many companies have come under fire for allegedly failing to follow through on public commitments to racial equality, particularly after last year’s nationwide protests for racial justice. Sony’s board doesn’t have any Black members and has only one Black top executive, contradicting its claims to support the movement, according to the suit.

The Sony complaint outlines a series of racist remarks allegedly made by Hill’s manager, including an assertion that the Black Lives Matter movement made Black people feel too powerful and that they should “feel grateful for whatever they are given,” according to the suit. The complaint couldn’t immediately be verified in electronic court records.

The manager also allegedly said he prefers Black people “who know their place” and that Kamala Harris was only picked to serve as Vice President because of pressure from the movement for racial equality.

“The inclusion and diversity that Sony embraces in its marketing is, as a practical matter, nonexistent at Sony,” Hill alleges in the complaint. “Sony continues to blatantly prefer and favor its White and Asian male employees in all terms and conditions of employment above and over its female employees and especially, its African American female employees.”

The case is Hill v. Sony Corp., California Superior Court, San Diego County.

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