Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
When employers receive a “Power Harassment” claim in Japan that doesn’t seem to be tied to a protected category, do employers still need to investigate the complaint?
One of your employees, who is working in Japan, files a complaint that her boss is yelling at them every day relating to a performance issue, and says these yelling incidents constitute power harassment. This employee’s allegation does not relate to any protected category. She is essentially claiming that the manager is “mean.”
Do you have an obligation to investigate the employee complaint? The short answer is “Yes”. The new Power Harassment law requiring investigation of power harassment claims took effect on April 1, 2022 for employers of all sizes in Japan.
Power harassment is essentially bullying in the workplace and is not necessarily tied to a specific protected category. Power harassment occurs where an employee engages in conduct that takes advantage of their position or power, such conduct exceeds the employee’s reasonable scope of duties, and this conduct may cause other workers' mental or physical suffering or otherwise may be harmful to the work environment.
Examples of power harassment under government guidelines include physical attacks, mental attacks, personal attacks, isolating someone, assigning humiliating or excessive work without justifiable reasons, or other such conduct.
The employer is required to determine the facts in a swift and accurate manner, while maintaining the complainant’s confidentiality. Additionally, the Power Harassment law requires the employer take other actions such as implementing an anti-power harassment policy and implementing a reporting hotline.
To learn more about the Power Harassment law or address questions regarding compliance with the same, please reach out to your preferred Littler contact.