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.