According to the tagline for the 1991 film “City Slickers,” “All you need in life is love, courage and paid holidays.” Indeed, some of us may find meaning to our lives through single-minded devotion to our jobs, but without leisure time our bodies and minds would inevitably putter out. Taken to extremes, we may even start to wonder what we are living for.
Can a company discipline an employee for taking absence without leave if that worker could be suffering from mental illness? Just a few weeks ago, on April 27, the Supreme Court ruled against Hewlett-Packard Japan Ltd. in a case that posed precisely this question. The verdict illustrates the courts’ thinking on a very modern ill of Japanese labor.
Let’s take a look at the facts of the case.