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Paradox the subject of additional reports of discrimination

Multiple women tell UK and Swedish press about a "toxic" company culture where harassment is accepted

Paradox's treatment of women employees is at issue again as a pair of press outlets have published reports backing up Swedish union group claims from last month that the company has fostered a culture of bullying and gender discrimination.

Eurogamer today reported on its own discussions with several women who are or were previously employed by Paradox, as well as a weekend report from Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Both outlets' sources painted a picture of Paradox as a male-dominated culture where the contributions of women were not valued.

"I have been to meetings where I'm the only woman in the room," one woman told Eurogamer, "and I say 'Hey, I really think we should go this direction, based on my experience', and someone looks at me, and they say, 'You know what, you're just here as a token hire. So I think you should be quiet about this.'"

Women also told Eurogamer that they believed the company tolerated vulgar and misogynistic jokes, as well as verbal abuse in meetings. One said harassment of junior employees was allowed to happen because middle managers would prefer to placate their bosses rather than bring a difficult issue forward.

According to Eurogamer's translation, Svenska Dagbladet reported that men in senior positions harassed people beneath them in the company's hierarchy. It also said the company hired a senior manager with a reputation for treating women poorly just months after his former employer had to settle a harassment lawsuit regarding his actions.

The issue at Paradox came to the fore last month when Swedish union groups Unionen and Sveriges Ingenjörer released results from a survey they conducted that found 44% of Paradox employees had experienced mistreatment at the company, with 69% of women saying they'd endured abusive treatment.

A week before that survey, Paradox CEO Ebba Ljungerud resigned, with "differing views on company strategy" given as the reason. With Ljungerud stepping down, Paradox executive chairman of the board Fredrik Wester stepped back into the role of CEO.

A week after the survey, Wester admitted to acting inappropriately during a 2018 company-wide meeting "in the name of transparency and clarity." He gave no specifics on the nature of his actions, but said as a result that he would not be directly involve with "handling these issues" at the company, deferring to Paradox's HR staff going forward.

Paradox did not respond to Eurogamer's request for comment, but told Svenska Dagbladet that it took the unions' survey seriously, but did not want to act too quickly on it because fewer than 20% of its employees participated. It has since hired an external firm to audit its company culture.

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Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.