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Top court rules in favor of pregnant woman who was demoted

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This is excellent news, but how enforceable will it be?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Co-workers will continue to have their workloads increased.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

I hope this will lead to some changes in Japan. The problem, unfortunately, isn't with the current laws, which are quite generous. The problem is with companies breaking the existing laws. My wife, for example, was told that she could have maternity leave for less than the 8 weeks mandated by law and that she would lose her full time position if she decided to take child care leave, which she is entitled to.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

This is just a start. It will take some time for women to be treated fairly. Just this week we were in an elevator and a man pushed his way out of the door from the back. My wife and step daughter were in front of him and he did not acknowledge or even make a gesture that he was sorry. Then about an hour later we were at the Yokohama station and a man ran into my wife and again did not say a thing. This is a normal daily routine. I think it is going to take a generation before the men here realize that women have value to Japanese society other than having babies. Even some of the women are so use to this type treatment that when I offer them a seat on the train they look at me like I am crazy. We can talk all we want about equal rights, but actions speak louder than words.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Welcome to the twentieth century.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

But Japanese women are not staying away from work because they can’t get ahead; only one in 10 working women want to be promoted to management because it would be hard to juggle housework with the long working hours associated with management. Mothers in U.S. work because they need the money. That is not the case in Japan.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

My (Japanese) wife had worked for a very large Japanese conglomerate in Singapore for a number of years before our first child. She was quite successful in a consulting team lead position. After going back to work after maternity leave she was continually asked when she would quit. She wanted to keep working. Once the company (all Japanese management) worked this out they just loaded her with more and more tasks, despite her asking to stick to 9-6 per her contract, until she quit.

Singapore has quite strict employment law and she more than likely would have won an employment tribunal. However, she didnt want to 'make a fuss.'

The company knew what they were doing to make her quit. Dinosaur behaviour that doesnt belong in the modern world.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I respect the Supreme Court's decision. Discrimination should be banned on past or present state of pregnancy. Most Japanese women are given only two cards to choose from - childbearing without a real career or a career without children.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Good for Japanese working ladies who became pregnant. Excellent Suoreme court decision in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What is wrong with Japanese men being a gentleman. Have respect for women they are the backbone of Japanese society.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sfjp,

That is true but the reason is the inhuman overtime work they are expected to do most of the time despite the fact that they need to go home to their kids after the end of the working day. Understanding at the workplace is still close to none in many companies. And while it is true that until recently most women did not need to work after giving birth, the situation has been changing so fast that quite soon most women will have to work after marriage and birth if they want to give better opportunities to their kids in terms of education (to say the least)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sfjp330Oct. 24, 2014 - 08:25AM JST But Japanese women are not staying away from work because they can’t get ahead; only one in 10 working women want to be promoted to management because it would be hard to juggle housework with the long working hours associated with management.

Bull. They don't want to be promoted to management because the working culture is insane. Junior and middle managers are expected to be last out of the door every night. Even fathers hate this idea. They'd love to get home at a sane hour so they can play with their kids for an hour or two.

Go and watch Emma Watson's speech to the UN and maybe you'll begin to understand that breaking down these sort of abusive working practices is in everyone's best interests, not just women's.

Mothers in U.S. work because they need the money. That is not the case in Japan.

... clearly you have no idea how hard Abe's increased taxes have hit a lot of families. 3% might not sound like a lot, but it has resulted in a knock-on effect that has resulted in much higher costs. The 3% is applies when the goods are sold from the wholesaler to the retailer, then again on the gas used to transport the goods, then again when the consumer buys them... all in all the ripple has turned into a wave, and if Abe keeps this up it'll turn into a tsunami.

And as a final note, the idea that all mothers only work because they need money, and not because they want to work and contribute their skills and expertise to society in a way that they find rewarding - like men - is frankly one of the most sexist things I have read in a long time. Some mothers may be content to stay at home, but many people (including, shock! women!!) enjoy working.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

This is very common here, the exact same thing happened to a good friend of mine in Japan, she sued the company for over 1 million dollars then used the money to get a law degree :)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Agree this is excellent news and that it can be enforced. More lawsuits are the answer. People with the power to abuse and mistreat their inferiors will never change or respect weakness. Fight them and continue fighting until they are beaten and publicly shamed. That sounds unrealistic at present but times are a changin.

"Even some of the women are so use to this type treatment that when I offer them a seat on the train they look at me like I am crazy."

I used to be struck by this before I stopped trying. Reminds me of new players off the boat who never understand why J-girls on the street look downright frightened when approached. If you'd been groped and assaulted for years you'd be wary of strange men too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mothers in U.S. work because they need the money.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

You can't compare women;s working conditions in USA and Japan. Many USA women have responsible jobs. They could be commanding men employees. Money? their husband may be making good money. They work to apply their skill, not just for money

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The top court’s ruling on Thursday means that the lower panel will have to look at the issue again and reconsider its decision.

So we don't know if this decision will actually stand?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@cl400OCT. 24, 2014 - 10:04AM JST Now if they can make it illegal to discriminate against people with tattoos and gaijin and...

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Are some people sueing? Or are you going to sue? Somebody has to sue or your desire will not be going to supreme court. Maybe you begin sueing. Just get same attorneys this pregnant lady hired.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oyaji & Co Japan whilst continuing to kick and scream is slowing being dragged into the modern era.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Government should look at ageist discrimination as well. I hear lots of job advertisements are for people below 35. There's no big difference between a 34 year old and a 35 year old. Especially for women having babies and then returning to the workforce, this 35 year old age limit would seem to be another harmful barrier. With the shrinking workforce, this type of ageist restriction is not going make sense from an economic point of view either.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

new law against discrimination are great, but unless there are severe penalties that go with it then its just a piece of paper that just as useful in the toilet

2 ( +2 / -0 )

People of Japan should respect women equally to men. If you want your country to remain stronger in the future change the way you threat women. Threat them equally and with respect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mothers in U.S. work because they need the money. That is not the case in Japan.

This is absolutely incorrect. Some do, some dont, the same as Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I am a working woman, single and not very young. I am employed in a Japanese company for nearly 7 years. My Japanese friends who hold high positions sometimes tell me about the different techniques they use to 'get rid of ' employees who become 'useless' due to illness, old age, pregnancy etc. It is rather sad. I am sure some of you would have heard of madogiwazoku, katatataki, evaluation meetings and so on.

I tried to think the position of the employer, when he is faced with the task of supporting employees who cannot contribute much to the company due to the reasons above. What I thought was that there should be a way, employers should give a severance package that would compensate for those employees who once contributed to the company and cannot contribute anymore to the company. This would cut the future costs to the company to a great extent and let the company support the other existing staff. I think this is reasonable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great news, the country is slowly moving forward and though it had to come to a lawsuit, time and patience prevailed. Kudos to Japan for moving forward, the judicial process worked in this case. Now for more stringent "no smoking" laws. I hope the women continue to grow in promotions in their career fields across the board.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As far as the employee in this case is concerned, she was right in asking for a light duty position. The employer did yield to her request and made the necessary arrangement. Probably someone was replaced or hired to satisfy the inadequacy at the relevant department. And later on, this same employee wanted her original position back. I think it is not an easy adjustment for the employer to push and shove the other employees to satisfy the needs of this single employee who returned after her pregnancy. Maybe it will take time for her to regain the position. Further, due to her added family responsibilities, the employee concerned may not perform as she used to before her maternity. So demanding the same position again is not necessarily fair, I think.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Jkanda,

My coworkers with young kids have become even more efficient after coming back from their maternity leaves. I understand their motivation: the sooner they accomplish their work for the day the sooner they can get home and be with their kids. From what I have seen so far, their efficiency is much much better than that of many of the guys in the office. So I would say that rather than getting worse, mothers with young kids work better after getting back to work.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

JaneM, I do respect your coworkers' motivation. Unfortunately, the ones that I have come across at my work place, many of them did not have that kind of attitude. Some of them after they returned from their maternity leave, could not carry out their quota of work. So others had to work more to complete the tasks in hand. And as you can guess, single people with no children to take care of, had to do that extra work. Maybe, it sounds like a bit of complaining, but frankly it was a bit hard for me because I had to care for my elderly parents. And most of the time, my superiors did not care that much when I requested for extra holidays. Motherhood is wonderful but then again women have to decide about the time they dedicated for that and for their career. Somewhere they have to make a compromise I guess.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jkanda: FYI in Germany a male or female can take up to 3 years unpaid maternity/paternity leave and get back to the same position. And this can be for 1, 2, 3 or more children. Thus what she asked for was reasonable to me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yes, in Canada too, women are allowed to take their allotted maternity leave and MUST be give the same position and salary as they had before. There are lots of employment advertisements for "Maternity Leave Postion" which lasts about one year. The person filling this position gets some experience and if the company likes them they usually can find a position. It's great for everyone.

The thinking is that women should not be penalized just because they are the ones that bear children. Men too are entitled to the SAME maternity leave and job when they return after a year. The government recognizes if the parents can give the child a good foundation this is beneficial to society in the years to come.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Jkanda or the person who is in the past.

Since when do you have to do the work of others ? Don t you have signed a contract ? Can t you read it and stick to it? Are you an ant , or worse a sheep who follows what you are told to do all the time ?

I work with Japanese only so I know what I am talking about lol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese government must make a stringent legal provision in dealing with the maternity harassment cases and against employers who coerce expectant mothers by resorting demotion or changing their conditions of service, should be heavily penalised and made to pay hefty compensation to such employees for harassment and mental torture suffered by them as result of such despicable actions of their employers.Women must have high regard in the society. Under very difficult conditions , women manage home, children and official responsibilities.Their life is really very tough and society must show care for them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Liberty has a signification that has not reached all countiries. Usa knows it well since we gave them and they nurtured that highly civilized idea. Respect of gender is a matter of liberty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mothers in U.S. work because they need the money. That is not the case in Japan.

Wow. Haven't been at the street level of Japan's battered economy in a while, have you?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mothers in U.S. work because they need the money. That is not the case in Japan. LOL what a load of BS. Japanese women are going back to work because there husbands/ partners dont make anywhere near what they made 20-25years ago. the average salaryman wage is nowhere near enough to pay the mortgage, bring up the kid(s) put them through college and save for retirement. dont think the J pension will be enough to live on in the future. I told my J wife that being married to me means you have to work also and help pay the bills and save for retirement. she wasnt too thrilled about it at first but 10yrs later she now understands it was a wise thing to do. we now can pay all our bills easily and have enough exposable income to travel/eatbring up the kids comfortably. or you can be some lucky people and inherit mum and dads money

1 ( +1 / -0 )

it's just Japanese culture, pure and simple. I feel sorry for most women in Japan. I would be ashamed of the male dominated, sexist culture. There is less than .5% of female executives in corporate Japan, excluding internationals. The worst part is Japanese women are far more talented and intelligent than Japanese men. Women are much better students and athletes too (world cup results for men and women soccer don't bode well for the guys).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Welcome to the twentieth century.

It is the twenty-first century in my calendar.

Japan is a pure chauvinist country that condemns women for being just that, a woman.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wtfjapanOct. 24, 2014 - 11:16PM JST LOL what a load of BS. Japanese women are going back to work because there husbands/ partners dont make anywhere near what they made 20-25years ago. the average salaryman wage is nowhere near enough to pay the mortgage, bring up the kid(s) put them through college and save for retirement. dont think the J pension will be enough to live on in the future.

What choice do they have? Today, about 75 percent of women are active in the U.S. workforce. Japan is still around 60 percent. But the big hurdle for Japanese mothers face is childcare, or rather the lack of it. There are 20,000 children in the Tokyo waiting for places in day-care centers. The inexpensive public nursery can cost Y70K-100K yen a month per child and expensive private nursery Y150K-200K yen per month. This is the reason why roughly 70% of Japanese women quit working after giving birth to their first child. This compares to around one-third of women in the U.S. All of this adds up to two things. Many women who are having children are not working and women who are working are not having children. Both are terrible for Japan's future.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Come on, there are companies which would comply the relevant laws and secure accordingly everything possible to their female employees. I could think of several Nikkei 225 listed ones where friends from university work for. Of course, smaller and middle sized companies might be much more hardly pressed to secure their survivability. I am currently associated with a larger one, which unfortunately tries to push, as the general manager has put it recently, out of employment or full-time employee status, once they get pregnant. The trouble is not with the existing laws, the enforcement should be improved and assisted by further normative acts and punishing powers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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