November 21, 2019
Tokyo--A subcommittee of a Japanese labor ministry panel on Wednesday gave its nod to draft guidelines for preventing power harassment in workplaces, which require companies to clearly ban such practice under their work rules.
The draft, approved by the Labor Policy Council subcommittee, lists detailed examples of problematic actions, such as repeatedly reprimanding employees in an intimidating manner in front of other people, based on six typical types of power harassment.
The draft guidelines were compiled based on the amended labor policy promotion law, which was enacted in May. After soliciting public comments, the ministry hopes to formalize the guidelines by year-end for implementation from June 2020.
Companies would also be obliged to set up power harassment consultation offices and implement measures such as separating victims from harassers. Also, they would be prohibited from unfavorably treating workers who use such consultation services.
Among the six power harassment types stipulated in the draft guidelines are psychological attacks and cutting employees from relationships with other people. Examples of problematic behaviors under the categories also include saying words and taking actions denying employees' dignity, denying noncompliant workers jobs, beating and kicking, and exposing employees' personal information, including sexual preferences, without their consent.
In line with supplementary resolutions adopted by both chambers of the Diet, the country's parliament, when the amended law was enacted, the draft says it is desirable for companies to clearly ban power harassment also against outside people, including job-hunting students and people working freelance.
Meanwhile, the draft says that actions such as giving warnings with a certain level of severity to workers who have behaved in a seriously problematic way and having workers slapped with disciplinary actions undergo necessary training in a different room do not amount to power harassment.
In the subcommittee's past meetings, the labor side strongly requested that consideration should be paid to the views of victims when determining power harassment. The request, however, met with strong opposition from the management side.
In the end, the two sides agreed that work to confirm facts in each case should be done carefully while the mental and physical state of workers and how they view the cases are taken into consideration. Jiji Press
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