Japan’s Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a high court ruling and backed the suspensions of two male managers at an Osaka aquarium who were punished for making sexual harassment remarks to female employees.
The two men, in their 40s, work for a company that manages Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. In 2012, they were accused of sexual harassment by female employees after they made comments such as asking if they had boyfriends and why they weren’t married. One man said his urge for sex increases as he gets older, that certain women visitors to the aquarium were his type, and that his marriage had been sexless, TBS reported.
The company suspended one man for 30 days and the other for 10 days and demoted both to non-managerial positions.
The men appealed to the Osaka District Court, saying the disciplinary action was too severe because they had not been issued a caution, nor had the women complain to them. However, the court ruled their suspensions were in order, calling the remarks highly inappropriate.
In a subsequent appeal, the Osaka High Court ruled that the disciplinary action was too harsh, TBS reported.
In handing down Thursday’s ruling, Presiding Judge Seishi Kanetsuki overturned the Osaka High Court decision and deemed that the aquarium’s actions were correct and in line with equal employment opportunity laws. “After executives from the aquarium mandated suspensions for violating work place regulations regarding sexual harassment, these two men occupying management positions should surely have understood the gravity of their actions,” the judge said.
Asahi News Service