13 women at securities firm win discrimination lawsuit

The Tokyo District Court on February 20 ruled that Nomura Securities' discrimination against women in wages and promotion is illegal, and ordered the brokerage firm to pay 56 million yen (about 420,000 dollars) in compensation to the 13 women employees.
It is the first time that a court has ruled as against the law an employment system that places men on a managerial track and women on a clerical one.

In Japan, the Equal Employment Opportunity Law came into effect in April 1999, but many Japanese corporations maintain discrimination based on sex on the grounds that differences in treatment arise not from sexism but from differences in the work they are engaged in.

At Nomura Securities Co., men are promoted to vice-section chiefs after 13 years' service at the latest, but women retire without a single promotion and are paid 3 to 4 million yen less annually than their male counterparts.

The judgment limited compensation to be applied only to discrimination after the enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law. The part of the plaintiffs' claim that the wages not paid in the period since the personnel system was introduced in 1986 amounting to 660 million yen was dismissed. (end)