Tokyo High Court Punishes Konami for Maternity Leave Discrimination

December 28, 2011 -

The Tokyo High Court has ruled in favor of an ex-Konami Digital Entertainment employee who sued the company for discriminating against her. Yoko Sekiguchi alleged that Konami demoted her because she took six months of maternity leave in 2009 and slashed her salary by ¥200,000. The demotion and pay cut happened when she returned from her maternity leave, she claimed.

According to the plaintiff Konami blamed Sekiguchi's "childrearing burden" for its actions. Japanese law allows mothers to take up to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave (at a 60 percent salary) and up to one year of unpaid maternity leave.

"This is discrimination aimed at female employees who chose to take maternity leave," said Sekiguchi two years ago. "I decided to take legal action because fellow female employees are experiencing the same type of treatment."

While Sekiguchi won the court battle, the company was ordered to pay ¥950,000 ($12,000) in damages - Sekiguchi was seeking ¥33 million yen ($422,000) in her lawsuit.

"I want the company to be a place where people don't have to choose between two alternatives: career or kids," said Sekiguchi, according to a report from Japanese daily newspaper Asahi - as translated by Kotaku.

While at the company, Sekiguchi negotiated various licensing deals for the Pro Evolution Soccer/Winning Eleven franchise.

Source: Gamasutra


Comments

Re: Tokyo High Court Punishes Konami for Maternity Leave ...

Here's how you fix it.

Hey Konami. I refuse to buy any more of your products until you start treating your female employees fairly regarding their maternity leave. It's your move.

Re: Tokyo High Court Punishes Konami for Maternity Leave ...

Well, while I'm glad she won the suit, I'm also glad to see that Japanese courts aren't nearly so free to give away the losing party's money compared to American courts.

Re: Tokyo High Court Punishes Konami for Maternity Leave ...

Except that if you don't the companies have no incentive to change their behavior. $12,000 is not much weighed against the savings of doing this to every woman who takes maternity leave AND the women who avoid getting pregnant to avoid similar discrimination. Most people won't go through the hassle of a lawsuit against their own employer over these things. So if they do this to enough women while also being able to discourage legally allowed maternity leave, they still save more money over all. I would not be surprised if they continue this behavior. If the Japanese court had awarded a larger amount Konami would have a real incentive not to do this again.

Re: Tokyo High Court Punishes Konami for Maternity Leave ...

Bad press and incrementing penalties for repeated offenses aren't incentives?

And it's absurdly inflated multimillion dollar awards for imagined damages that lead to the culture of lawsuit worship all too common in America.  Was this woman wronged?  Yes.  Did she deserve monetary compensation?  Yes.  Did she deserve millions of dollars?  Hell no.

Re: Tokyo High Court Punishes Konami for Maternity Leave ...

The company has to pay enough that they actually notice it, though. If the penalty amount could be dismissed as a rounding error, they're not going to miss the money and not likely to give a damn.

 
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Andrew EisenI think more professional gamblers should get into games publishing. They'll play the odds but they'll also take risks to maximize profits.06/30/2015 - 11:57pm
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Andrew Eisen"Duke Nukem Forever sold poorly. See? Games staring white guys don't sell!" Pretty silly thing to say.06/30/2015 - 11:50pm
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Andrew EisenBut, luckily strides are being made and the money peoples are slowly learning that diversity -> larger targeted audience -> more potential dollars.06/30/2015 - 11:43pm
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Andrew EisenThat's why I think it's worth convincing the money peoples that proper representation (in any of its forms) isn't a financial risk, it's the path to expanding your audience and making even MORE money!06/30/2015 - 11:32pm
Matthew Wilson@AE will I agree, I kinda understand why. when your risking 50 to 100 mil you are going to try to do the safest thing you can sadly.06/30/2015 - 11:27pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0a6H_7_A5o a fairly impressive fake nx showing by hyberes5606/30/2015 - 11:23pm
Andrew EisenYou see that kind of nonsense in the movie business too.06/30/2015 - 11:02pm
Andrew EisenI think the bigger problem are those who see such things as substantive evidence that games with female leads don't sell well.06/30/2015 - 11:01pm
Matthew Wilsonit doesnt help that games like beyond good and evil did not do well.06/30/2015 - 10:58pm
MechaCrashThey don't advertise games with women leads because they don't sell because they don't advertise them because they don't sell because (repeat ad nauseum).06/30/2015 - 10:52pm
Andrew EisenAnd, with representation getting better and better, I think that's exactly what we'll see over the years.06/30/2015 - 10:49pm
Andrew EisenOf course, there's always the opposite viewpoint: perhaps more women would be inclined to join in the so-called AAA space if representation was better.06/30/2015 - 10:48pm
 

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