Tokyo Court Deems Beard Plucking Request Sexual Harassment

July 28, 2006 ( - Employees have been asked by their employers and coworkers to perform some strange tasks, some of them teetering between the bizarre and the sexually offensive.

One male employee’s request fit that bill when he asked a female colleague to pluck his beard, Reuters reports.

In Japan, where according to Reuters sexual harassment laws have been become more taut, a Tokyo District Court Judge ruled that the government employee’s request was “inappropriate and illegal” and warranted a payment from the man and his employer of $5,000 (550,000 yen) in compensation. The woman had demanded 5 million yen, according to the Japan Times.

The suit filed by the temporary worker at a Tokyo branch of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry’s Employment Security Bureau claimed that the Labor Ministry employee asked her to pluck his beard repeatedly. She told him to do it himself, but he forced her to give in, the Japan Times reported.

The woman also claimed that her co-worker sexually harassed her on other occasions, which included sending her notes requesting that she attend a company trip in “her best bathing suit.”