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Woman sues Tokyo company after having to work 48 days in a row with limited bathroom breaks

35 Comments
By SoraNews24

If you work in the entertainment/mass media sphere, you probably need to be prepared for a grueling work schedule, since it’s often not a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday kind of job. That goes double if you’re working in that industry in Japan, where in a lot of companies it’s not a question of whether you have to do overtime, but how much.

But even by those standards, the workload given to one employee at TV Tokyo Seisaku, a production company and subsidiary of broadcaster TV Tokyo, sounds wildly excessive.

The employee, a 51-year-old woman, previously worked solely as a producer for the company. Following a disagreement with her boss, though, she says that in 2017 she was transferred to the general affairs decision.

One could argue that that’s an unfair demotion, but where things get really unfair is how she claims that even after the transfer she was still required to handle many of her previous position’s assignments, usually after already putting in a full day in her new general affairs role. At one point she says she worked for 48 days in a row, and if that wasn’t unreasonable enough, she says that her supervisor imposed various conduct regulations only on her, such as limiting the amount of times she was allowed to get up and go to the bathroom.

The woman says the stress and strain eventually caused her to develop adjustment disorder, a psychological condition that can lead to more severe mental conditions. After hearing her case, the Mita Labor Standards Office, in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, certified that her condition qualified as a workplace psychological injury. Her lawyer has now announced that she is suing TV Tokyo Seisaku for unpaid overtime wages, and is also considering seeking additional damages as compensation for workplace harassment in the form of the bathroom limit and other unwarranted rules.

TV Tokyo Seisaku, meanwhile, has said that it disagrees with the woman’s claims and interpretation of the situation, but has declined to comment on specifics while the lawsuit is ongoing.

Sources: TBS News via OtakomuAsahi Shimbun Digital

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© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
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Nasty. Bullying seems rife in TV.

34 ( +34 / -0 )

she says that her supervisor imposed various conduct regulations only on her, such as limiting the amount of times she was allowed to get up and go to the bathroom.

This is just inhumane. I wonder if employers remember that people are still living beings that have bodily needs and can't function like clockwork for hours and days on end. I remember my friend who previously worked for a notorious business process outsourcing (BPO) company where they were only allowed to have 3-minute toilet breaks, that would make for some interesting bowel movements I imagine. When will humanity wake up to the fact that we're still human and not droids.

27 ( +27 / -0 )

Waiting for folks here to defend the TV and tell this “here” woman to “suck it up” and learn that “this is how things are down, here in this dystopian, Dicksonian “workers paradise” that we find ourselves in! This is why we need unions! For me, my union came in quite handy, when my university raised the standards for being promoted to professor FIVE times higher than usual, (I still met that requirement) and then forced me to go through TWO interviews, DO TWO different powerpoint presentations, revise my resume 18 times, and then do a year project to show my worth. Then my union stepped in and now monitors all promotions! Note: afterwards, they lowered the standard to now only SIX Published articles for Promotion as all of the Japanese associate professors are not that keen on working so hard and would never meet that standard of 50 articles! But in right wing cult world, there is nothing like abusive treatment of workers. Never!

13 ( +19 / -6 )

This lady really needs to find her spine and reattach it. Other than that, I hope she gets the compensation she's looking for.

"One could argue that that’s an unfair demotion"

Time to start looking for another job.

"At one point she says she worked for 48 days in a row"

That's a day shy of 7 solid weeks. There are few occupations that require this, TV isn't one of them.

"still required to handle many of her previous position’s assignments, usually after already putting in a full day in her new general affairs role."

You meet this with a solid "no". A demotion while doing your old job...you're putting in a lot of free work, there.

"as limiting the amount of times she was allowed to get up and go to the bathroom."

I don't know the law here, but this sounds like it's against the law.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

I work near a Japanese chamber of commerce and regularly see staff on cigarette breaks three or more times a day.

Being able to leave unfair controlling companies has always worked for me.

It is always their loss...

18 ( +20 / -2 )

I'm glad she's suing them. Good on her. we need more people like her..

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Her fault for working there.

Sure conditions may suck but no one forced her.

-27 ( +2 / -29 )

""where in a lot of companies it’s not a question of whether you have to do overtime, but how much.""

Not only in the entertainment industry!! It is the NORM in almost all industries in Japan. But then they tell you we pay a bonus to make up for the O.T., but they forget to mention and fail to understand the psychological damage.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I hope she wins.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

If you are exploited, it is because you let others exploit you. Do not gift others with the power to rob you of your mental health and wellbeing.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Disgusting. Her ex-boss should be fired.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

If you are exploited, it is because you let others exploit you.

It also might be because someone is exploiting you.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

All this talk here of "find another job", you try finding a well paid job at 51+

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Being a mid to late career woman (or even a man) at a firm like this doesn't necessarily leave a lot of options to switch to another firm. Being exploited may be better than being unemployed or starting a new job with a lower salary.

I think finding a new gig in your 50s after being demoted to a general office job is not easy in any country, let alone Japan.

She should take TV Tokyo Seisaku to the cleaners for misconduct, and she better win. I hope her co-workers can testify to the validity of her harassment.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Horrible.

Employment rights are non existent here. Treat workers like human beings and they are more loyal and work better, better for the company, better for the economy and better for society. Another example of Japan self harming.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Tip of the iceberg...

9 ( +10 / -1 )

like the previous poster said: “tip of the iceberg”. it all has to do with this ( horrible ) Japanese work culture ( again ) ...

10 ( +12 / -2 )

If they're limiting you on how often you can get up to go to the bathroom and make you work 48 days in a row, you need to just step up and not do it. Go to the bathroom when you need to. After so many days of work with no days off, don't go in. Take your day off. Call in sick if you need to.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The employee, a 51-year-old woman, previously worked solely as a producer for the company.

she claims that even after the transfer she was still required to handle many of her previous position’s assignments, usually after already putting in a full day in her new general affairs role.

Even by the time she got new position from demotion, she will be required to handle her previous job. Since her previous job was producer, that job will require lot of things to be handle. Even promoted assistant producer that just being promoted will take sometime to really be able doing that job without any help.

At one point she says she worked for 48 days in a row, and if that wasn’t unreasonable enough, she says that her supervisor imposed various conduct regulations only on her, such as limiting the amount of times she was allowed to get up and go to the bathroom.

Lot of production companies really run with tight budget and tight schedule, even without abusive supervisor it can be really demanding job. Also supervisor really make a big mistake by limiting female worker for a bathroom break, most likely her supervisor is oyaji that doesn't care about the necessity for females to conduct necessary things in bathroom.

Long hour without holliday, it's already bad company but limiting bathroom break that's already passing the limit.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sue the hell out of them.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I am pretty sure what is really happening here is the TV station wanted her to QUIT, so they demoted & made her life as miserable as possible so SHE would quit, this has been happening in Japan since FOREVER!!

The ole madogiwa I think its called, often they make you move, even across country, give you a job with nothing to do, your desk way off in a corner some where etc etc

In this case they tried overloading her so much she would quit.......I really HATE Japan for this crap!!

When will labour offices DO THEY GOD DAMNED JOBS & protect the people of Japan!!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

yes corporate capitalism at its best

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This is pretty much par for the course in Japan. My spouse has told me many times about things like this happening to her or a FEMALE co-worker at more than one place. The company promoted some young know nothing guy with little experience ahead of all the women who were above him and he wanted his own people to get the positions directly below him so they made life as difficult as possible for the women in those positions and even made up some trumped-up failures in order to demote some of them. They did everything in their power to make several female employees quit and actually succeeded in getting 2 of them to do it. I have been talked out of having a "chat" with her boss a few times too. I am not normally a violent person but sometimes a real taste of the consequences of your (unlawful and immoral) actions are in order.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@GW - excellent post and I agree with your sentiments.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

 it disagrees with the woman’s claims and interpretation of the situation, but has declined to comment on specifics

Welcome to Japan!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sue the hell out of that company, take everything, start a new company and make better content for viewers.........Please!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I hope the Japanese work ethic adopts the Western one

There are too many toxic boomers in Japanese companies....!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Disgusting company and equally disgusting people who work there and treated this poor woman so badly. No one should ever be treated this way in their workplace.

I hope she gets a lot of money to help her move on from this horrible ordeal.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Unfortunately, this is how managers get rid of unwanted staff. They can’t fire them without cause, so they pile the pressure on until they fail performance reviews, receive too many warnings or simply give up and quit. Not new and happens everywhere.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I just wish people are brave and fortunate enough to make critical decisions like leaving their job. I started looking for a new job once I felt the impending fall out of my relationship with my boss. We had disagreements and because he's the boss, what he wants is always "correct". Luckily, I found a way out and now working with a more modern company with significantly higher salary. Most people don't have the choice.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

At one point she says she worked for 48 days in a row,

I can't see many people doing this, may be she should have said get stuffed its too much.

she says that her supervisor imposed various conduct regulations only on her, such as limiting the amount of times she was allowed to get up and go to the bathroom.

Tell them to get stuffed, your going to the toilet, take it or leave it would be 99% of people reply,

A Japanese car manufacturing plant near me had a similar situation when they built the plant, The Japanese bosses thought that the UK workers would work for 1-2 hours with out pay at the end of the shift, all of the tools went down and the plant came to a grinding halt. needles to say the bosses could not work this out, the bosses were so use to worker taking this bully boy tactic, so the overtime is now being payed, and believe it or not the company has not folded, so they can afford it, they just use "traditional methods" as a crappy excuse for free labour and ramp up profits, I hope this woman sues the pants of the TV company its about time Japans work place had a massive shake up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sue them, and put the Company out of business.

In this hot climate, if you can not keep hydrated through drinking water, then your Company is a H&S risk. Was her Boss qualified to dictate such a regime ? Was the Company in a position to allow her boss to dictate such a regime.

Sue them, and get them put out of business. Who wants to work for such an Employer anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I will support any campaign that promotes a "Do not watch TV Tokyo" as a result of this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This news story should be promoted internationally... not simply because its a Woman, but because of the Nature of the situation - contrary to Public Health. I would be careful if considering working in Japan with such ethics running rife.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should be made an example of so that other companies would think before bullying their employees, thus ending workplace bullying. She should sue for 3/4 the worth of that tv company. That'll learn 'em a lesson!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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