Former Sony Music employees consider class action lawsuit

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Former Sony Music employees consider class action lawsuit

By Nathanael Cooper

A dozen former employees of Sony Music Australia have approached a law firm to investigate launching a class action lawsuit against the global music empire.

Criminal lawyer Lauren MacDougall, from MacDougall and Hydes Lawyers in Sydney, confirmed staff members had contacted her following Sony Music’s investigation into workplace culture at the company’s Australian offices.

Sony Music Australia’s Sydney Office.

Sony Music Australia’s Sydney Office.Credit:Rhett Wyman

“I have been approached by a number of women who were seeking legal advice in relation to claims of bullying and harassment during their time at Sony Music Australia,” Ms MacDougall said.

“I would encourage any other women or men to come forward. Depending on how many people come forward and what they have to say there is the potential of a class action.”

Ms MacDougall is yet to speak to all of those who contacted the law firm so could not specify the form the class action would take, but this masthead has previously reported allegations of harassment, bullying and discrimination at the music company.

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Last week, this masthead revealed that Sony Music’s global head of human resources had started making secret inquiries about the culture within the organisation’s Australian offices. It was revealed on Sunday that the investigation had intensified and external counsel had been appointed.

The company this week sacked chief executive Denis Handlin and stood down senior executives Pat Handlin, Denis Handlin’s son and the vice president of A&R, and Mark Stebenicki, the senior vice president of strategy, corporate affairs and human resources.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age do not suggest Denis Handlin, Pat Handlin or Mr Stebnicki have been accused of any wrongdoing as part of the ongoing investigation.

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At least one of the women who contacted Ms MacDougall has also appointed the law firm to act on their behalf in Sony’s investigation.

One, who asked to remain nameless due to the possible legal action, said she did not feel comfortable dealing with Sony on her own.

“Sony Music has let us down time and time again, many of us don’t feel safe speaking with the organisation or its local counsel,” she said.

“It’s comforting to know there is finally someone out there representing our rights that can support us in navigating the complexities of this process.”

A spokeswoman for Sony Music declined to comment.

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