Japanese Co. Faces Charges for Abusive Training Program

November 11, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A labor union and four employees of the West Japan Railway Co. have filed a lawsuit against the company for what it calls an abusive training program.

A Japan Economic Newswire report says the employees claim they suffered mental anguish from the program the company gives to those who have made mistakes. They are asking for a total of 9.9 million yen in damages.

One of the plaintiffs spent 71 days in the program the company calls day-shift education for overrunning a temporary stop by two meters. According to the news report, the complaint alleges the employee was shouted at by superiors while being questioned and was made to write reports about what the employee thought about the company.

Another plaintiff was ordered to perform duties such as wiping train ceilings, cleaning fans, and weeding flower beds for about a month because of using words not listed for use in radio communications when reporting an emergency stop. The other two plaintiffs received insults about their work and had their labor union activities interfered with, according to the complaint.

One employee said, prior to the filing, “The day-shift education is only bullying and harassment, neglecting the person’s character. Though it is named education, it is actually an illegal act.”

The company overhauled the training program after labor unions complained that the psychological pressure caused by the training may have led to the fatal derailment and crash of a commuter train in April that killed 106 passengers. The 23-year-old driver of the train, who also died in the accident, had undergone the training program.