Japan: Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan asks for inclusion of racial harassment in draft guidelines on power harassment

Author: Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan, Published on: 17 February 2020

[Excerpt translation from Japanese to English provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre]

"Letter seeking the inclusion of 'racial harassment' in the draft guidelines on preventing power harassment in workplaces", 9 Dec 2019

Foreign workers and ethnic minorities in Japan experience workplace discrimination and harassment on a daily basis. According to a 2016 survey of foreign residents by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the percentage of foreigners who had experienced discriminatory treatment, such as insults stemming from their status as foreigners, over the last five years was 29.8%. Of these individuals, 38% reported that they had experienced incidents of discriminatory remarks from clients, subordinates, colleagues, and supervisors in their workplace...

As an organization that seeks to promote respect and protection of foreign workers’ rights in Japan, we [ Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan] request that racial harassment be included in the “Draft Guidelines on Employment Management to Address Actions in Workplaces where Employers Hold an Advantageous Position” (referred to as “Draft Guidelines”). As part of this request, we offer the recommendations below...

The Draft Guidelines should...include “language or conduct in a context where a party has an advantageous position over a worker” in its definition of power harassment. This addition takes into account the disadvantageous position of many foreign workers and ethnic minorities in the workplace...

The Draft Guidelines should thus remove references to language and conduct by “a group comprised of colleagues or subordinates"...

...We therefore ask that the Draft Guidelines eliminate the standard of “the perception of the average worker,” instead explaining that workers’ perception of power harassment will differ among individuals...

...To raise awareness about this issue, the Draft Guidelines should include examples on racial harassment and preventive measures that employers should take against this type of harassment...

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