#metoo – Sexual Harrassment at the workplace

German-Japanese Society for Labor Law e.V. (DJGA), Bucerius Law School, University of Hamburg and Taylor Wessing Law Firm organizes online conference.

Sexual harassment in the workplace, or while applying for a job, has received new attention as a result of the #MeToo movement. This was recently seen in Japan, where the resignation of the chairman of the National Olympic Committee, Yoshiro Mori, was a visible example of sexual discrimination in everyday working life.

TOPIC OF DISCUSSION: PREVENTING AND RESPONDING TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE

Against this backdrop, on June 18, 2021, the Society for Labor Law (DJGA), Bucerius Law School, the University of Hamburg and the law firm Taylor Wessing organized a three and half hour online Zoom conference with around seventy participants on the topic of "#MeToo - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Germany and Japan.” On the one hand, the event focused on the labor law dimension of this topic, namely prevention in the company and the possible reactions under labor law in the event of sexual harassment. On the other hand, the issue was also examined from a legal perspective. Successful prevention and reactions under labor law cannot be implemented without taking legal findings into account.

LECTURES FROM A JAPANESE PERSPECTIVE

Keeping this in mind, attorney Sayako Tsukamoto (City-Yuwa Partners, Tokyo) first discussed "How to deal with MeToo and related topics in Japanese companies" and Karola Japke (CHRO, Teijin Limited, Tokyo) talked about "MeToo from an HR perspective - compliance and practical implementation." Both presentations provided a look at corporate practice for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace in Japanese companies.

A discussion was followed by an in-depth academic look at Japanese labor law by Prof. Dr. Etsushi Hosotani (Kagawa University, Takamatsu) whose presentation, followed by a discussion, was entitled "#MeToo - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Japan."

AFTER A SHORT BREAK: THE GERMAN PERSPECTIVE

After a coffee break Nathalie Schlenzka, from the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency in Berlin, reported on the legal background: "Sexual harassment in the workplace: extent, forms and strategies for dealing with this problem". Her report was perfectly complemented by the presentation of Prof. Dr. Martina Benecke, University of Augsburg, on "Between ‘love bans’ and #MeToo: Sexual harassment at the workplace in the legal arena", which looked at German labor law through a scientific lens.

CASES IN GERMANY AND JAPAN HANDLED DIFFERENTLY

The presentations and ensuing discussions made it very clear that the way sexual harassment is dealt with in the workplace in Germany and Japan is quite different, in part due to the cultural differences between the two countries. However, it also became clear that in both countries there is still a lot of work to be done to effectively prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. This obligation also applies to legislators. Above all, prevention should be in the foreground.

The presentations and discussions were moderated by:

  • Attorney Karsten Haase, Düsseldorf
  • Professor Dr. Matthias Jacobs, Bucerius Law School, Hamburg
  • Prof. Dr. Claudia Schubert, Hamburg University and
  • Attorney Dr. Michael Pils, Taylor Wessing, Düsseldorf.

Author

Arne Lemke, translated by David Patrician

Hamburg