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International Employment - Japan

posted 9 months ago

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is a full-service law firm (one of the “Big Four” of Japan).

The text of Japanese labour law itself is sometimes abstract, as there are many cases in which it is difficult to determine legality from the law alone.

I offer advice that goes beyond mere legal interpretation, drawing on my more than 10 years of experience at a law firm specialising in labour law as a corporate legal matter.

My main workflow includes consulting clients via telephone, e-mail and online meetings. In addition, I am now handling several lawsuits and labour tribunals.

The issues from clients are quite diverse (e.g., dismissals, claims for overtime wages, addressing employees who take sick leave [due to mental issues], harassment, appropriate disciplinary measures).

There is a recent case wherein a company dismissed an employee who committed malpractice, but the employee filed a complaint with a labour tribunal, claiming that the dismissal was invalid.

Under Japanese labour law, it is especially difficult to dismiss employees or to change employment conditions. Our firm advises on how to ensure legality, as well as on resolving the issues by agreement to avoid any further problems.

Yes. Remote work makes it more difficult for employers to ascertain the hours worked by employees or to control their overtime.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed employment law itself, remote work and online meetings have been encouraged much more than ever.

A hot topic is whether companies should require their employees to be, or report whether they are, vaccinated.

Under Japanese labour law, employers shall establish necessary measures in terms of employment management regarding discrimination and persecution. I advise clients on fulfilling the request of law or government guidelines, and I sometimes serve as an instructor for training employees to avoid discriminating or persecuting anyone.

In a recent case, when a manager reprimanded an employee in a heated tone of voice, the employee eventually became mentally ill and took sick leave. The client and I discussed how to address the situation, and I advised on executing a letter of resignation in exchange for payment of compensation.

To promote sustainability, our firm has what we call our “MHM Sustainability Policy”, and we contribute from a legal perspective based on our expert knowledge and experience as a law firm to resolve sustainability issues that concern society.

No. My practice area is mainly labour law concerning employers, not employees.

I have some experience with collective bargaining on behalf of companies, but not with advising labour unions.

Our firm has offices overseas, and we have some connections to cooperate with local firms in other jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, I am a member of LAWASIA, an international entity of lawyers.

The boundary between freelancers (gig workers) and employees is blurring as a result of the proliferation of telecommuting.

Nonetheless, employees are protected by labour law, whereas freelancers are sole entrepreneurs with little legal protection.

The gap between them is so large that the necessity of legal protection for freelancers is another hot topic on the horizon.

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International Employment - Japan

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