U.S. -based Citibank withdraws its order of distant transfer to employee with bed-ridden mother

A world-known U.S. bank in Japan recently withdrew its transfer order for an employee who refused it because he has a bed-ridden mother to look after every day.

Akahata reported on March 30 that Citibank formally asked him to work in the bank's office in Nagoya City to which he can commute from his home. This has been achieved by the employee's persistent struggle and public opinion supporting his demand, Akahata said.

The bank employee, Yoshinobu Umemura, who lives in Seto City in Aichi Prefecture, had been ordered to transfer to Tokyo. He told the company he was unable to accept the transfer order because he has to take care of his bed-ridden mother, and asked to work in the nearby Nagoya district. The bank rejected his request and asked him to resign.

Umemura persistently insisted that the employer's cooperation is necessary for an employee to do his job and run his house.

Media reports on this case helped increase public support for Umemura.

The bank changed its position and on March 23 issued an order that Umemura should work at the Nagoya Branch from April. The written appointment stated that the transfer order was based on "special considerations for your personal circumstances in which you have to nurse your mother."

Citibank in 1999 won official commendation of the then Labor Ministry for being a "family-friendly corporation," well-equipped with systems to support workers in performing their jobs, childcare and nursing."

In September 1999, a Japanese Communist Party Dietmember in the parliament raised the issue of the bank's distant transfer order to Umemura, saying that the action brought shame to the title. (end)