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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 January 12 - 18  > Court judgement nullifying NEC subsidiary worker’s dismissal finalized
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2022 January 12 - 18 [LABOR]

Court judgement nullifying NEC subsidiary worker’s dismissal finalized

January 12, 2022

A Yokohama District Court ruling that nullified the dismissal of a 30-year-old male worker by an NEC subsidiary was recently finalized. The worker is a member of the Denki-Joho Union, which organizes individual workers in the electronics and information industries.

The worker, Igusa Sota, in April 2014 began working at an office of NEC Display Solutions, Ltd. (currently Sharp NEC Display Solutions, Ltd.) in Odawara City in Kanagawa Prefecture. He was assigned to a department in charge of production management of high-quality display devices, such as medical monitors. In December of that year, although he is a non-drinker, he was forced to attend his office’s year-end party and experienced harassment from his boss at the party. Surrounded by an atmosphere of turning a blind eye to workplace harassment, he was unable to ask anyone for advice and developed an adjustment disorder.

One day in December 2015, Igusa was suddenly locked out of the office and unilaterally placed on temporary retirement. Seeking help to be allowed to return to work, he joined the Denki-Joho Union. In collective bargaining with the company, he presented a doctor’s note that verifies his recovery from his adjustment disorder and urged the company to reinstate him to his original position. However, his request was rejected on the grounds that a company-designated industrial doctor diagnosed Igusa with a development disorder without conducting necessary tests.

Igusa was dismissed in October 2018 under the pretext of the expiration of the maximum administrative leave period. Three months later, Igusa filed with the Yokohama District Court a lawsuit against the NEC subsidiary, demanding withdrawal of his dismissal which used the expiration of the period of sick leave as a pretext. In the lawsuit, he claimed that the company’s act runs counter to the NEC Group Code of Conduct promising not to discriminate against people with disabilities.

The Yokohama District Court on December 23, 2021, judged the company’s refusal to accept Igusa’s demand to be allowed to return to work as unjust and nullified his dismissal. As the company gave up on appealing to a higher court, this court ruling became final and binding.

Igusa expressed his renewed determination to work together with his union to realize his reinstatement and turn his workplace into one where all workers can work under a decent work environment with protection of their human rights.

The Denki-Joho Union said that the Yokohama District Court ruling will be useful to put a brake on major electronics companies’ moves to dismiss workers with the use of the “expired sick leave” tactic like the NEC subsidiary used.
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