Konami Staffer Sues for Maternity Leave Discrimination. Wins.

Illustration for article titled Konami Staffer Sues for Maternity Leave Discrimination. Wins.

In 2009, then 36-year-old Konami Digital Entertainment employee Yoko Sekiguchi sued her company after being demoted following maternity leave.

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Sekiguchi negotiated soccer team and foreign player licensing rights for Konami's Pro Evolution soccer games.

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In Oct. 2008, Sekiguchi took maternity leave, returning the following spring. Upon returning, she was not only demoted due to a "burden" caused by childrearing, but her monthly salary was cut ¥200,00 (US$2,560).

Sekiguchi filed a suit seeking ¥33 million yen (US$422,000) in damages, saying at the time, "This is discrimination aimed at female employees who chose to take maternity leave."

"I decided to take legal action," she added at the time, "because fellow female employees are experiencing the same type of treatment."

Today, it was revealed that the former Konami employee, now 39, won her legal battle against the Tokyo-based game maker. The Tokyo High Court ordered Konami to pay her ¥95 million ($1.2 million) in damages.

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"I want the company to be a place where people don't have to chose between two alternatives: career or kids," Sekiguchi said.

Konami said it had not yet seen the official ruling and, thus, would not comment on the case.

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In Japan, one of the reasons why the birthrate is declining is that corporate culture does not typically offering the infrastructure to allow women to have both a family and a career. Rulings like this are a step in the right direction, but there's still so much more, whether that is daycare or maternal leave, that's needed.

育休後の降格・減給は「違法」 東京高裁が賠償命令 [Asahi Thanks, Thanks Devendra!]

(Top photo: David McNew | Getty)

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DISCUSSION

roninsakana
Demosthenes

This is why a good chunk of women are toxic in the workplace (and a contributing factor in why they make less than men on average). I didn't CHOOSE to have kids and take up to 3 months off for maternity leave and I'm being paid just as much as my male coworkers.

The majority of other women in my office have nearly triple the absentee count as most male workers and the few of us girls that don't see ourselves as entitled to our jobs.

It sucks to be demoted after having a child but having kids is a CHOICE (it's not a mandatory biological condition) and employers shouldn't have to give one gender special treatment if we're supposed to be equal. You can't eat your cake and have it to: either you're a career woman or you're a mum — you can't have both. Trying to be both isn't fair to either party. This is why the majority of children are being raised by strangers and/or the media.

Want to start a family? Get a part time job. Want to climb to the top of the corporate ladder? Do what it takes to play in the big leagues and don't cry foul when you make decisions that impair your work performance and get passed on by by those who make concessions to their job.