Japan College of Foreign Languages Local Conducts Recruitment Leafleting, Braves Illegal and Dangerous Management Harassment

JCFL Members braved the rain and management harassment on Thursday, January 22 to conduct a recruitment leafleting to in front of the JCFL Takadanobaba campus during their lunch break.

At 12:30, Case officer Gerome Rothman and three union members arrived at the front gate. They began leafleting instructors and staff.

Shortly after the union began, management deployed several non-union staffers to interfere with the leafleting. Management first told the union they would call the police. The union responded by insisting management stop interfering with our legitimate union activity.

Read more

‘Maternity harassment’ verdict benefits women, men — and our humanity

Last Thursday’s Supreme Court verdict in the “maternity harassment” case brought by a physical therapist in Hiroshima was the first of its kind, overturning decades of business-friendly jurisprudence along with rulings from the district and high courts.

As I mentioned in last year’s September Labor Pains (“Mata-hara: turning the clock back on women’s rights”), the word mata-hara is short for maternity harassment, just as seku-hara and pawa-hara refer to sexual harassment and power harassment, respectively. Maternity harassment means workplace discrimination against pregnant or childbearing women, including dismissal, contract nonrenewal and wage cuts.

Read more

Tozen Vlog for May 18, 2014

Japan College of Foreign Languages Once Again Interferes With Legal Union Activity. We will not back down! またもや正当な組合活動を妨害した日本外国語専門学校(JCFL) ~それでも、私たちはへこたれません!

This morning Tozen JCFL Local members, Tozen members, and supporters conducted a leafleting at JCFL in an effort to build our union there. Below is our report.

Leafleting Report

After gathering we walked together towards the school, put on our armbands, and got to leafleting. We began leafleting at 8:40. Several staffers immediately stood in front of the union members attempting to block them. The members kept their cool and persisted in leafleting, trying hard to get the leaflets to the students without touching the staffers. I tried to confront the staffers individually, informing them that this was a union action and they should not interfere. The staffers either ignored me or told me that they were outside to protect the students from cars, and that they are out there every day. Principal Iizuka said this several times as well. School staff, however, do not greet students in the street on a daily basis.

Read more

Is Sulejman Brkic no longer a member of the ICC Family?

Tozen member Sulejman Brkic was bloody illegally fired.

Fired TeacherICC Language Schools is a language school that has six branches in the Kanto area, with its headquarters in Yokohama. Sulejman Brkic has been teaching English and French courses at this school for twenty years. He has always been very popular among his students, not only because of his superb teaching skills, but also for his charming personality and his wry sense of humor. Sulejman loves his job, and has worked passionately for the past two decades.

Read more

スレイマン・ブルキッチ組合員は、もう「ICC Family」じゃないの?!


Read more

Matahara: turning the clock back on women’s rights


Matahara: turning the clock back on women’s rights
Maternity harassment‘ concept coined amid reports of bullying over pregnancy at work

“When I told my company I was pregnant, they fired me.”
“I was delighted to be hired by a company I loved. Then my boss made me promise not to get pregnant for a while.”

In last October’s Labor Pains, I discussed maternal job rights in “Labor law protects expectant and new mothers — to a point.” Today, I would like to address a new legal concept known as “maternity harassment,” or matahara, in the syllabic acronym engendered by this growing — and disturbing — trend.

Read more

Panel says bullying by peers, subordinates also power harassment

A government panel studying measures to combat bullying at work recommended Monday that harassment by peers and subordinates be included in definitions of power harassment in the workplace.

In the government’s first proposal to define power harassment, often associated with abuse of power by bosses, the panel said in its report that power harassment could occur not only between people in different hierarchical positions but when there are gaps in expertise in specialized fields such as information technology.

The number of consultations related to bullying or harassment at work brought to the attention of the ministry’s regional labor departments across the country has increased from about 6,600 cases in fiscal 2002 to around 40,000 in fiscal 2010.

The report said there are six types of power harassment — physical attacks such as assault, mental attacks such as threats, ignoring or leaving someone out of the loop, burdening someone with excessive work, deliberately giving someone very little work to do and prying into someone’s personal affairs.

The working group determined there is a need to expand the definition of power harassment as it found from interviews with companies and the examination of litigation that there are a growing number of cases in which workers are continually ignored by peers and where younger employees well-versed in IT harass people in more senior positions who are less knowledgeable.


Young teacher’s 2004 self-immolation caused by job stress, court rules

On-the-job stress is what pushed an elementary school teacher here to commit suicide in 2004, the Shizuoka District Court ruled on Dec. 15.

Siding with plaintiff Kenji Kimura, 62 — father of teacher Yuriko Kimura, who was 24 at the time of her death — the court ruled against the Fund for Local Government Employees’ Accident Compensation, which had refused to recognize the suicide as a “job accident.”

According to the decision handed down by Presiding Judge Tsutomu Yamazaki, when Yuriko Kimura was hired in April 2004 and put in charge of an unruly class of fourth graders, she was “exposed to continued extreme stress and did not receive appropriate support,” causing her to develop symptoms of depression. Furthermore, “the students’ problematic behavior continued to occur frequently, and disrupted classes became the norm.” The court ruled that the severe depression caused by these circumstances led to her self-immolation later that year after receiving a written complaint from a parent.

The accident compensation fund argued that Kimura had abandoned class discipline and let the students run wild, and otherwise demonstrated a lack of social skills, claiming her subsequent depression was partly her own fault.

The court ruling also stated that the teachers and school administrators who criticized Kimura for poor teaching should have been more supportive, saying the lack of that support was “a very large problem.”

At a press conference after the trial, Kenji Kimura told reporters, “I want a thorough check on what’s going on at the school and measures to be put in place so this doesn’t happen again.”