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Japan – Another Record Pay Out For A Power Harassment Claim.

3 February, 2015

 


On 28 November 2014, the Fukui District Court awarded JPY 72m to the aggrieved family members of a young employee who committed suicide due to power harassment.

 

The Fukui District Court found that the employee of a fire extinguisher sales company committed suicide as a result of power harassment by his direct supervisor. The employee was 19 years old at the time of his death. The claim was brought by his bereaved parents against the employer, the direct supervisor and the line manager.

 

From contemporaneous written records made by the employee about his experience at work, the Court found that the employee had been subjected to intimidating verbal abuse by his direct supervisor that exceeded the boundaries of reasonable reprimands at work.

 

The Court ordered against the direct supervisor and the employer to pay damages in the sum of JPY 72m to the bereaved family members.

 

However, the claim against the line manager was dismissed on the basis that it would have been difficult for the line manager to detect the power harassment that was going on.

 

Actions For Employers

 

In recent years, Japanese Courts have been handing down higher and higher monetary awards for suicides caused by power harassment. This record pay out follows an order made by the Tokyo District Court earlier in the same month awarding JPY 58m to the bereaved family members of an employee who had committed suicide as a result of power harassment and overwork.

 

In light of this trend, it is important for employers not to treat complaints of power harassment lightly. They should promptly investigate into the complaints and create a work environment that is safe for all employees.

 

herbert smith Freehills

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Peter Godwin, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
peter.godwin@hsf.com

 

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