SEGA Settles Fil-Am Bias Suit

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Video game maker SEGA Corp. of America Inc. and Spherion Corp., a temporary worker agency, agreed to pay $600,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging the companies fired some Filipino American workers because of their race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Mar. 25.

Under the settlement, the two companies did not admit liability but agreed to conduct employee training to prevent future discrimination, EEOC officials said. In addition, Spherion agreed to update its anti-discrimination policies.

The federal commission had charged in a lawsuit that San Francisco-based SEGA directed Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Spherion to fire 13 Filipino temporary workers placed in SEGA’s game testing department. The commission also alleged five other game testers were fired in retaliation for befriending a co-worker who threatened to complain about preferential treatment of Filipino employees.

Jeff Sideno, a plaintiff in the case, said, “This was a job in an industry I’m passionate about, so losing it was devastating. As a temp worker, you wonder what kind [of] rights you have.”

SEGA will pay $456,000, and Spherion, $144,000, to the 18 employees involved, the EEOC said.

Spherion spokesman Kip Havel would not discuss details of the case, but said the settlement “does not assume any liability on Spherion’s part.”

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