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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 17 - 23  > FA sues JAL for ‘maternity harassment’
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2015 June 17 - 23 TOP3 [LABOR]

FA sues JAL for ‘maternity harassment’

June 17, 2015
A Japan Airlines flight attendant on June 16 filed a lawsuit against the company with the Tokyo District Court, arguing that she was forced to take a leave of absence without pay due to her pregnancy.

Jin’no Tomoko, the mother of a 2-month-old baby, held a press conference at the labor ministry office building and said, “Many pregnant FAs feel anxiety about their careers during pregnancy and after childbirth. Some even leave their jobs with the acceptance of severance pay. JAL should provide a good example for corporate policy in which female employees with small children can continue to work if they so wish.”

Jin’no, who is also a member of the JAL Cabin Crew Union (CCU), demands that JAL pay a total of 3.38 million yen in back pay and compensation.

Late last August, Jin’no in the early stage of her pregnancy told her boss that she wanted to continue to work as a member of the ground crew. The company, however, rejected her request as no position was open on ground crews and ordered her to take a leave of absence without pay from September.

JAL has a system allowing its female FAs to choose between ground services and leaves of absence after they become pregnant. However, under the pretext of enhancing productivity, the company in 2008 added a clause limiting transfers. Since then, pregnant FAs have not been able to transfer to ground crews unless the employer finds it absolutely necessary to do so.

Jin’no and the union repeatedly requested that JAL retract this added clause. She also consulted relevant public authorities, but JAL representatives never showed up to mediation sessions held by the Tokyo Labor Bureau. With the case unsettled, Jin’no in April had her baby.

The labor ministry in June 2008 designated JAL as a company which is friendly to childrearing employees. In March this year, the company received another certificate of accomplishment. The ministry of economy designates JAL as one of the listed companies with excellence in promoting women’s empowerment.

In actuality, it is far from being women-friendly. JAL has dismissed many experienced FAs who endeavored to create an environment so that female employees can balance their work with childcare responsibilities.

Past related articles:
> Top court ruling is a big step forward: ‘maternity harassment’ victims’ group [October 24&25, 2014]
> Women workers call for prevention of ‘maternity harassment’[September 11, 2014]
> Worker fights against ‘maternity harassment’ and wins[September 5, 2013]
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