A Japanese website recently published a list of four commonly occurring behaviors at work which are actually considered to be crimes by Japanese law. The scariest thing is that regardless of where you are in the world, you might have been doing them all along!
Perhaps take a moment to check whether you have explicit permission before doing any of the following four things at your place of employment, or else you could find yourself in a legal mess in the worst case scenario.
Now, we’ve never actually known any employers to press criminal charges for the following workplace occurrences, but it’s probably best to be aware of their legal consequences in any case. Although it may be awkward, the best thing to do is to simply ask your boss whether it’s okay to do something that you’re unsure of in order to avoid any potential negative fallout.
1. Charging your phone at the office
It’s natural to think nothing of plugging your phone into the nearest electrical socket no matter where you are. However, “stealing” electricity at your workplace in this manner could translate into actual Japanese criminal law, since electricity is technically the property of your company. In addition, some companies don’t allow their employees to use personal USB flash drives and the like for fear that a virus could slip through into the network. The school where I taught in Japan had a similar policy, and no one was allowed to bring personal laptops to school for that very reason.
2. Earning personal points on company expenses
Make sure you that know your company’s policy about whether any points, airline mileage or similar rewards accumulated from company expenses are yours to take or not. Since the points are linked to purchases in the name of the company, even if you buy them on behalf of your employer, claiming them for your own without official permission could actually be considered a form of embezzlement.
3. Forwarding other people’s email
This one seems like a no-brainer to us, but always ask for permission when you forward someone else’s email containing personal information to another person. The reason is of course due to protecting everyone’s privacy when such information is encoded in a message. In fact, a 36-year-old systems engineer in Tokyo was arrested back in January of this year for a crime of this nature, so you’d better think twice before sending out that giant invitation unless you BCC everyone at the firm!
4. Drinking alcohol against your will
Abstainers of alcohol and lightweights will be particularly pleased to hear about this one. Official Japanese law actually stipulates that it’s a crime to force employees to drink against their will!
It may come as a surprise to many Japanese workers who quite understandably believe that the future of their jobs depends on “mandatory” nomikai sessions with their higher-ups, but aruhara (“alcohol harassment”) is indeed a thing and there have been cases where victims pressed charges or demanded compensation for damages inflicted after being forced to drink in the event of severe peer pressure. After all, alcohol poisoning is dangerous and definitely not fun, especially if you didn’t even want to drink in the first place.
Remember, asking for explicit permission before doing any the above is the way to go, even if it seems like a pain at the time. A simple question could save you all that legal hassle down the road.
Source: Naver Matome
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