Sony Music HQ was warned about workplace culture at Australian label under Denis Handlin decades ago

The global Sony Music company was warned more than 20 years ago of serious complaints about the workplace culture at its Australian label overseen by its now sacked CEO Denis Handlin, Guardian Australia has learned.

Former employees believe a culture of intimidating behaviour and alcohol abuse was effectively allowed to continue for another two decades at Sony Music Australia, before the head office in New York launched an investigation into its Sydney operations earlier this year.

A statement from Sony Music Entertainment’s head office last week said the company was taking seriously allegations about the workplace culture from an undisclosed number of Australian employees and ex-employees. It said harassment, bullying and other inappropriate behaviour would not be tolerated by the company.

Earlier this week New York removed Handlin from his position as CEO of Sony Music Australia, and according to reports his son Pat Handlin, along with another senior executive, Mark Stebnicki, are now on indefinite leave from the company. Guardian Australia is not suggesting there are any specific allegations against Denis Handlin, Pat Handlin or Stebnicki.