- Employment Reduction and Termination Matters
Regardless of the economic environment, employment reduction and dismissal issues are always important matters for employers. However, the dismissal of employees, which must comply with the Labor Contract Act of Japan, is often a difficult issue for employers to handle. As a key part of our labor practice, we regularly advise clients with respect to employee reductions and dismissals, including both voluntary and unilateral terminations. We provide extensive support to our clients from the initial planning stages through to communications with targeted employees, negotiation of voluntary termination packages, procedures for unilateral dismissals, and in the preparation of related documentation such as communications on behalf of the employer or the drafting of termination agreements.
- Sexual Harassment/Power Harassment
Companies must have the appropriate framework in place to respond immediately and appropriately to allegations of work place sexual harassment and power harassment which, if develop into court actions, may not only result in the company being held legally liable but also serious damage to its reputation. We advise and support both international and Japanese clients in formulating their general response to harassment issues, such as factual investigations and findings. In addition, we provide a number of internal training sessions in English aimed at preventing harassment at the workplace.
- Employees with Mental Illness
Occurrences of sick leave and suicide by employees due to mental illness are increasing, perhaps aggravated by rapid changes in employees' social situations and working environments. As such, the mental health of employees is currently an urgent issue that employers need to address. Companies often struggle in responding appropriately to employees suffering from mental illness since (a) it is difficult to know the nature and the cause of the employee's mental illness, (b) the employee's sick leave may become longer than expected, and (c) the employee may relapse after returning to work. We are often engaged by clients to solve many of the problems that arise in relation to employees' mental illnesses, and provide practical and optimal solutions tailored to each case.
In addition to collective bargaining with the internal unions of employees, employees, who are members of an independent union outside the company, may insist on signing a collective bargaining agreement with the company. We advise companies regarding their participation in collective bargaining negotiations as well as on avoidance of unfair labor practices. We also advise on how to handle unique situations created by unions, such as in respect of information and promotional activity, strikes, lock-outs and other labor disputes. Should an application concerning unfair labor practices be filed with a Prefectural Labor Relations Commission, we are able to swiftly and competently act on our client's behalf.
- Labor and Employment-Related Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Our attorneys have extensive experience in labor and employment related litigation, particularly with respect to claims of wrongful discharge and related compensation matters. We recognize, however, that litigation is often not the most satisfactory way for our clients to efficiently resolve their employment disputes. We are skilled in advising and representing our clients in negotiations and mediations to settle disputes (as an alternative to judicial action) in the most cost-efficient manner possible while protecting the interests of our clients. A primary focus of our labor and employment advice is to emphasize the importance of, and assist our clients in, the development of effective personnel management strategies in order to help our clients avoid costly litigation and other kinds of labor disputes.
- Our representative experience includes advising the following clients:
- A US company in a criminal case arising from allegations of non-payment of employees' overtime pay;
- A Dutch company, on the appropriate response to an allegation of sexual harassment;
- A US company, on the handling of an employee with mental illness;
- A Swiss company, on the termination of employees;
- A German company, which was the subject of a complaint for wrongful termination by an employee;
- A US company, on the termination of a representative director of its Japanese subsidiary;
- A US company, on the payment of workers' compensation;
- A European company, on the termination of an expatriate employee and successfully defending our client against the expatriate's claim of wrongful termination; and
- A Japanese company, on the appropriate response to an allegation of power harassment.