Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to Fight against Discrimination,Harassment

Fight against Discrimination and Harassment is going to be tough, but you'll emerge victorious if you have the will; and I bet you do, since you're reading this post.

YOU are your strongest support
Tell yourself that you have the will, the capacity and the tenacity to fight for justice.

Record Evidence
Start recording and saving evidence that indicates harassment, discrimination, bullying.
Make a chronological record of such events in a document. Use your phone's voice recording facility when possible. Buy yourself a voice/video recorder since bullying,discrimination usually takes place in closed rooms or when not many people are around. Example;

This is absolutely legal as per the Supreme court of Japan

Report, Convey the actions that indicate Harassment,Discrimination
Go on record (via email,letter) and inform your manager of the actions that you feel are discriminatory. Make sure you use the words discrimination, harassment combined with adjectives like unfair, unreasonable, etc.

Approach Relevant Government Agencies to assist
They will provide basic information on which association to contact and how to proceed.

Labor Standards bureau will summon the company to stop discrimination, although its not legally binding. However, this is important since the Labor court will be happy to see that you tried to resolve the situation via the tools available.

Tokyo Bar association's lawyers will be available to provide their services

Law Firms

Note : Make sure that the results of the conflict check are negative before you share any evidence,details with a law firm.

Most law firms will try to invite your company to settle the issue by adequate compensation, however you do have an option to reject this step and rather file charges in the labor court.

Companies in Japan are aware that Laws are in favor of the employees and that fighting a law suit is an expensive endeavor, both financially and on their reputation. So, be ready to receive an offer from the company for an off-line settlement.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Petition against Power Harassment at Work

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Boss to bully , misguided birthright

Reading the stories of Japanese bosses treating fello workers like dirt and resolving to harassment, makes me wonder if it's some misguided birthright to which these bosses feel entitled.
Do they feel, "I had to endure this as I made my way up the chain of command, and you should experience it too!" or maybe "I sacrificed my time with family to get here, and and you chose not to, how dare you?"
These bully bosses have no right to hang their past experiences and mistreatment on a new generation of workers.

A recent report issued from the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry reports that over 40% of Japanese workers surveyed have been bullied at work by supervisors.
Businesses lose an estimated 175 Million dollars a year due to legal litigation, of this close to 30% is related to bullying. It is in the organizations’ best interest to handle the problem before it becomes a crisis.

Bullying,Harassment and micro-management reduces morale and makes people less efficient at work. A wise organization knows the importance of creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect. It is no secret that it can provide tremendous benefits of improved creativity, morale and teamwork, and that employees that are happy and content work better, and harder.
Harassment,Bullying is an organizational and structural problem, not simply an individual problem.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Doltish social rules result in crumbling morals

A lot of banter in my head as to how a developed country like Japan, the world's second largest economy, leader in its own right has turned a blind eye towards misery and discontent in corporate and civil society.

Japan has the infamous reputation of world's highest suicide rates amongst industrialized nations where the leading cause is depression and social pressure.

While most Japanese are aware of this, efforts are missing in regards to identifying and acknowledging the reasons behind the widespread misery. The answer is glaring in the eyes, its thoughtless acceptance of irrational socio-cultural rules.

Harassment by a senior in hierarchy or power is to be ignored, grievances are never to be unearthed, and harmony has to be maintained (in the public eye) at all times.

The Japanese place a high value on uniformity, hierarchy, reciprocity, and harmony.
While these seem like harmless requirements, the problem is that people chose one of the above to justify their actions.
Not to speak up against harassment by boss because of hierarchy.
Not to speak my mind against a stupid rule to ensure harmony.
Not to walk separately from a (irrational, stupid, inconsiderate) group of people to ensure uniformity.

On the other hand, if actions were in adherence to all of the 4 rules, a boss would never harass, people would allow everyone to participate and speak their mind and harmony would be ensured.
Japanese people accept the fact that their 'honne', true feelings are often in contrast with their 'tatemae', public face. As a result, restraining one’s feelings is very appropriate and hence only a few women in Japan even complain to their companies, perhaps because of a tradition in society of persevering through problems or because they feel that it would do no good. And in this generally no litigious society, only a handful of women file sexual harassment lawsuits each year.

The goal of the Japanese system is the establishment and maintenance of wa, or harmony. On the surface, this aspiration for harmony is respectable, but the reality is that this pursuit of harmony is leaving grievances unspoken, issues unheard and widespread misery.

As a result of such cultural and social entities, those in power are corrupted by its mere possession and those without are on a path to self destruction.

Experts say the root cause of harassment in Japan is that women have a secondary status in society over all.
This is ridiculous, considering the fact that women are competing with men at every step, they posses the power to heal and power to continue our existence. Doltish group thinking has suppressed individual action for a long while; its time to fix the problems and get society on the right track.

The government and society have to ensure empowerment of its citizens and provide the tools to speak their mind, protect them as individuals and permit them to change the rules of the game, because every now and then , the game of life needs a fresh perspective.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Power Harassment targetted towards Foreigners, Women

Imagine becoming a victim of a vicious cycle of stress, depression, harassment, misery .
Sadly, this is being forced upon people in Japan (local and foreigners alike).
While Group thinking proved to be crucial in getting Japan out of the social and economic rut in the earlier decades, it has led to loss of individuality. People are afraid and embarrassed to speak up against unfair actions and power harassment.
Aging population and a dwindling workforce are already posing grave threats to the world's second largest economy, but the social and corporate culture are being detrimental to health and well-being of the society.
Working Women and foreign workers could prove to be the golden goose, but the attitude of society against women and feeble laws against discrimination against foreign workers and women plays spoil sport.
Its outrageous that laws against discrimination and power harassment of foreign workers are conspicuous by their absence. However none of the governmental law bodies come forward to take this up.

Foreign workers in Japan are essential not just for the economy, but also for the socio-political scene of Japan as they bring the much needed diversity and balance. Unless the government takes adequate steps to strengthen the employment laws and ensures protection of foreign workers against power harassment, not just the image of Japan, also the society and economy will hurt.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Power Harassment in Japan

I can recall the call from my friend on June 2 when she was crying profusely due to harassment at work. Earlier that day, the manager of her unit asked her to resign stating that one of the deputy managers didn't like her. On being asked what exactly her mistake was, she was told not to question their authority and not to waste their time.

In the past 1.5 years at work, she was harassed on many occasions when blowing the whistle where the deputy manager would hand out orders that were clearly not in line with our global policies. Every time this was brought this to their attention, they would get furious and retaliate. Their Human Resources manager folded their hand and would indicate their helplessness as they would want to behave according to the whims of the management and not as an employee advocate. On consulting the Labor advisory and Inspection services department, she was told that more than 45% of the cases in this decade have been related to harassment at workplace.

Power harassment has been plaguing the Japanese workplaces more than ever before and it goes without saying that this is having a detrimental impact on businesses and society alike. Not only does this impact the worker, but it’s an emotional roller-coaster for the entire family. Such depressed state of society will compound existing challenges of aging population and low birth rate. Just like sexual harassment, any kind of harassment is a violation of fundamental rights of workers; it constitutes a problem of safety and health, a problem of discrimination, an unacceptable working condition and a form of violence, primarily against women.

There's little evidence that the recent media coverage of "power harassment" has affected the attitudes of those in corporate Japan with the power to harass. Sadly the problem is that there is no system in place to protect workers against power harassment and bullying at work.

I thereby urge that your ministry evaluate possibilities to introduce a tort law for suing for assault, emotional distress and failure of the employer to provide a safe system to work. The harasser and the employer should be held jointly liable, the former directly and the latter vicariously, in the event of a commission of a tort of assault. In addition, the employer should be held liable for failing to provide a safe work environment.

While laws exist to address arbitrary dismissal, it’s the pain staking process while the employee is being mercilessly harassed that needs to be avoided. Only by building a strong and united labor movement, with the support and understanding of the wider public, can we effectively defend jobs, pay and the rights of the working class.

Many global organizations have started to advocate for change, several governments have adopted new legislation, and an increasing number of workers and employers and their organizations have taken measures against it. However, while Japan is years ahead of other developed countries in some aspects, it is decades behind in protection of the rights of its workers, its people, its human capital.