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Report: Suit filed against Bandai by employee alleges racism, retaliation

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

More than a year ago Vietnamese-American businessman Tony Le was told that his position with California-based Bandai had been eliminated. In a recently filed lawsuit, Le alleges his dismissal in March 2014 was the end result of a long string of discriminatory actions by his former employer, reports My News LA.

The suit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Bandai America Inc, Bandai Namco Holdings USA Inc. and several of Le's former bosses seeks "unspecified compensatory and punitive damages" the report says.

After being hired as a business analyst in June 2010, Le alleges a "pattern and practice of disparate treatment" against non-Japanese staff. The suit goes on to list verbal abuse in Japanese, gestures and "obscene laughter" as well as a series of specific incidents that paint Bandai's corporate atmosphere as particularly hostile to Americans.

Bandai's former CEO, Matsui Masayaka, is alleged to have told Le, "All you Americans are so stupid and don't know how to run a business." Le claims that Masayaka said he would dismiss all Americans in the company if he could, and that "Japan should have bombed Pearl Harbor again."

From My News LA:

Le claims he was denied access to important company information, making it more difficult for him to perform his job. He alleges he also was excluded from company meetings and dinners in which only Japanese employees were invited.

The company gave preferential treatment to Japanese employees when granting promotions and fired those who were not Japanese more often, according to the lawsuit.

Le says he complained about his treatment to the company’s human resources department, but was told to "remain silent" and discouraged from filing a complaint.

The head of Bandai’s legal team also was Japanese, creating a "clear conflict of interest" and leaving Le with no place to "voice or channel his concerns without fear of retaliation" and instead "making it a complete farce," the suit alleges.

Polygon has reached out to Bandai's US office for comment. Japanese outlet Sankei News reached out to Bandai in Japan, but the company would not discuss the issue because of the pending lawsuit.

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