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International News Archive
June 21 - June 28, 2001


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This page contains news for the period
June 21 through June 28, 2001.



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Thursday, June 28, 2001

Japanese Court rules in favor of underpaid female married employees

A story published today by the Daily Yomiuri reports that the Japanese Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. was ordered Wednesday to pay a total of 90 million yen to 12 women who claimed the firm had denied them salary raises and promotions because they were married, while giving such benefits to single women who entered the firm the same year.

In their suit, filed with the Osaka District Court, the women demanded that the firm pay them a total of 320 million yen--the amount they said they would have received had they been treated the same way as their unmarried colleagues over the previous 13 years.

Judge Tetsuou Matsumoto agreed that Sumitomo Life had discriminated against the women.

In the ruling, the judge stated that the company had a work culture that did not welcome married female employees and that its managerial staff was affected by this culture. He also pointed out that some forms of harassment against the plaintiffs who continued working after they had married were confirmed.

The company, however, countered that it was unavoidable that pay raises for married female employees should have been lower since their work quality and quantity dropped when they take maternity and child-care leave.

The judge, however, maintained that negatively appraising the job performance of the plaintiffs for taking such leave restricted the exercise of rights approved by the Labor Standards Law and was therefore illegal.

They 12 women also filed a suit demanding that the central government pay each of them 1 million yen in damages for refusing to mediate in the dispute in accordance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Law.

Matsumoto, however, dismissed that suit.



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