Handling of Power Harassment Made Mandatory

The Revised Act on Comprehensively Advancing Labor Measures (“Revised Act”), which makes it mandatory for an employer to take measures to prevent power harassment, has been enforced from June 1, 2020 (for small and medium company it is a best efforts basis up to March 31, 2022).

In this article we will explain in detail what is being made mandatory by the Revised Act.

1. Outline

Under Article 30-2, paragraphs 1 and 3, of the Revised Act the employer must implement the following measures ① to ⑩ (legal requirements) in accordance with the guidelines determined by the Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare (Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare announcement No. 5 of 2020).

(1) Clarification and education/edification of policy, etc., of employer:

① to clarify the content of the policy for power harassment and that no power harassment must take place in the work place, and educate/edify the workers

② to regulate in writing in employment rules the content of the policy and strict handling of perpetrators (the person doing the power harassment) and educate/edify the workers

(2) Establishment of necessary structure to appropriately handle and respond to issues:

③ to determine in advance the place of consultation and educate the workers

④ to ensure that the person in charge of the place of consultation will suitably respond to the content and situation of the consultation

(3) Prompt and appropriate response after the occurrence of power harassment in the work place:

➄ to promptly and accurately confirm the facts

⑥ to promptly and appropriately undertake measures in consideration of the victim

⑦ to appropriately undertake measures against the perpetrator after confirmation of the fact situation

⑧ to take measures to prevent a repeat of the issue

(4) Other measures that should be taken together with the above:

⑨ to take necessary measures to protect the privacy of consultee/perpetrator, etc., and educate the workers about the measures

⑩ to determine to the effect that no discharge or other unjust handling will be done by reason of the fact of consultation, etc., and educate/edify the workers about it

2. Detailed method of handling

Among the above ① to ⑧, we explain below in more detail matters for which consultations often occur as a practical matter.

(1) The method for education/edification of policy (the above ①)

In regard to the method for education of the policy, etc., that the employer must undertake to ensure that power harassment does not occur, the guidelines state that a written form should be decided and that form should be set out in the work rules and other rules in the work place, etc., and set out in internal notices, pamphlets, internal home page, etc., and have them distributed, and use when implementing training, etc.. With these as reference, each employer can use a suitable method upon consideration of its own circumstances.

(2) Provisions in work rules, etc., to strictly handle the perpetrator (the above ②)

For handling the above ②, in order to establish rules to strictly discharge a perpetrator, the act of power harassment must be clearly prohibited in the work rules and other rules and it must provide that a person who violates the provision will be subject to discipline.

(3) The place of consultation (the above ③ and ④)

In order to set up a place of consultation internally, it is necessary to decide in advance the person in charge (or department in charge) of the place of consultation and make it known to the workers. Also, it is necessary to structure the arrangement so that the place of consultation is aligned with the personnel department in order for the place of consultation to actually function. A law office, etc., could also be utilized as an outside place of consultation.

(4) Appropriate handling in the case where a complaint of power harassment occurs (the above ⑤~⑧)

In the case where a complaint of power harassment occurs, it is necessary to first grasp the factual situation quickly and accurately, while considering the mind and body of complainant and his/her privacy. In the case where the fact of power harassment is found, depending on the case, appropriate measures must be taken against the perpetrator for discipline, etc., and the victim also needs appropriate measures taken. Also, necessary measures should be studied to prevent a repeat by re-educating about the content of power harassment and such measures should be implemented.

Our office can advise on the detailed actions necessary for the above, tailored to each employer, so please feel free to consult us at any time.