The Act on Securing, Etc. of Equal Opportunity and Treatment between Men and Women in Employment (‘the Act’) aims to promote equal opportunities and treatment of men and women in the workplace. The Act falls under Article 1 of the Constitution’s mandate for the government to ensure equality under law and promote measures to ensure the health of working women during pregnancy and after childbirth. Japan enacted the Act in 1985 upon the United Nation’s ratification of Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. The Act prohibits employment discrimination based on sex at each stage of recruitment, assignment, and promotion. It also prohibits discriminatory treatment based on marriage status, pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, an Amendment to the Act in 2017 obligates employers to take steps to prevent harassment based on a protected status. To ensure its effectiveness, the Act requires that employer violations of the statute be publicly announced, and a fine imposed on employers who violate the reporting obligation.
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