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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 4 - 10  > Dentsu found guilty of violating working hour rules
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2017 October 4 - 10 TOP3 [LABOR]

Dentsu found guilty of violating working hour rules

October 7, 2017
Major advertising agency Dentsu on October 6 was ordered by the Tokyo Summary Court to pay a fine for forcing workers to work excessively long hours in violation of the Labor Standards Law.

It is quite rare for a company to face a criminal trial over labor law violations.

This trial was opened to deal with a high-profile incident where a rookie employee of Dentsu, Takahashi Matsuri, killed herself in December 2015 as a result of excessive overwork.

The Tokyo Summary Court in its ruling pointed out that the imposition of illegally long working hours were the norm at Dentsu. The ruling states, “It cannot be overlooked that such a labor practice cost lives.”

The ruling criticizes Dentsu for neglecting to take concrete measures to improve working conditions, such as employing more staff or reducing workloads, even after receiving instructions to do so from labor inspectors many times. The court ordered the ad agency to pay a fine of 500,000 yen for illegal working hours that caused workers, including Takahashi, to commit suicide.

Reportedly Dentsu will not appeal to a higher court and the ruling will be finalized.

After the ruling, Takahashi’s mother held a press conference. Noting that the Dentsu president in response to the guilty verdict expressed his intent to improve the working environment, she said that she cannot take the president’s words at face value. She said, “The government needs to keep an eye on the company so that the management will run the business with due respect for labor laws.”

The mother also urged the government to step up legal safeguards to eliminate deaths from overwork including suicides.

Past related article:
> Dentsu worker’s suicide recognized as work-related [October 8, 2016]
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