Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

平成28年(受)2076 (2016 (Ju) No. 2076) 最高裁 (Supreme Court of Japan) (2018)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment, Stalking

The appellee, a former employee of the appellant’s subsidiary, suffered sexual harassment and stalking from an employee of the appellant’s other subsidiary who shared the same work site with the appellee. The appellant had developed a corporate-group-wide compliance system, which included a consulting desk at which an employee of the appellant or its subsidiaries could raise and discuss any compliance-related matters. The appellee brought the harassment issue to her supervisors at her immediate employer (i.e. the appellant’s subsidiary) twice, but sufficient solutions were not provided, following which she left the company without bringing the issues to the consulting desk. The stalking continued even after her resignation, so her former colleague who still worked at the appellant's subsidiary brought the issue before the appellant through the consulting desk, but it did not provide sufficient solutions either. The question brought before the Supreme Court was whether the appellant (i.e. a parent company of her former immediate employer) bore the duties based on the principle of good faith to provide certain protective measures to the appellant because it had developed the corporate-group-wide compliance system. The Supreme Court found that the appellant was not imposed with such duties in light of particular facts in the case since the appellant did not bring the harassment issue to the consulting desk during her employment. However, in dicta, the Court stated that a parent company, depending on particular facts of the case, can be responsible for providing sufficient solutions to an employee of its subsidiary who is a victim of sexual harassment––failure of which would result in liability for damage based on the principle of good faith––if the parent company provides a system through which the employee could, and actually did, bring an issue of sexual harassment to the parent company’s attention.