Japanese Employee of Olympus Asserts Continued Mistreatment in the Workplace Despite Victory Last Year
Masaharu Hamada, an employee of the Japanese electronics giant, Olympus, has reported that he is still being mistreated in the workplace despite winning a lawsuit against his employer just last year.
Hamada’s complaint alleged that he was illegally demoted after alerting the company of complaints received from suppliers and the unprofessional behavior of other employees. In Japan, unlike the U.S., in order to file such an action, an employee is required to remain employed by the company. According to Hamada, he was isolated, not given any work, and subjected to humiliating punishment such as the requirement that he clean bathrooms and take rudimentary tests. The 51-year old salesman’s 2008 whistleblower suit was the first of its kind to reach Japan’s Supreme Court. Courts in Japan, where unquestioned loyalty is rewarded with lifetime employment, generally do not rule in favor of whistleblowers. Hamada has requested to be transferred out of his department in hopes that the mistreatment will stop. He states that he will continue to fight for his rights and he will remain an Olympus employee, standing up for the rights of future employees confronted with his situation.
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