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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 March 23 - 29  > Court invalidates IBM Japan’s dismissals of union workers
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2016 March 23 - 29 [LABOR]

Court invalidates IBM Japan’s dismissals of union workers

March 29, 2016
The Tokyo District Court on March 28 nullified IBM Japan’s dismissals of five workers and ordered the company to pay back wages dating back to the terminations of employment.

The plaintiffs are four male and one female members of the Japan Metal, Manufacturing, Information and Telecommunication Workers’ Union (JMITU) IBM Japan branch. Between July 2012 and June 2013, the five workers suffered so-called “lockout” dismissals in which they got their walking papers just before closing time and were then locked out of the office. The five union workers filed a lawsuit seeking the nullification of the dismissals.

In the court battle, IBM Japan argued that the reason for the dismissals was poor job performances. The plaintiffs claimed that the company discharged them as part of its downsizing measures and that it targeted union workers who opposed the restructuring.

The court ruling acknowledges that in some aspects the plaintiffs’ job performances were not very good if compared to other workers, but their productivity was not poor enough to be convincing reasons for discharging the workers. It judged that the dismissals of the plaintiffs were abuses of the right to dismiss and invalid because IBM Japan decided who to discharge without objective and reasonable grounds which is socially as well as legally unacceptable.

At a press conference held after the ruling, plaintiffs’ lawyer Minaguchi Yosuke welcomed the court judgement rejecting the dismissals based on relative evaluations of job performance.
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