Can a foreign national sue for gender discrimination in Japan?

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Japanese labor laws apply equally to foreign workers and Japanese workers, with some exceptions. This means that the same Labor Standards Law, Minimum Wages Law, Industrial Safety and Health Law, the Workmen’s Accident Compensation Insurance Law and the Employment Security Law also apply to foreigners. Especially important is the Labor Standards Law, which protects employees, including foreign employees, from discrimination in wages, working hours or working conditions due to nationality or other status.

Gender discrimination in the workplace in Japan is governed by the Labor Standards Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. Beyond protections relating to dismissals, Japanese law mandates that an employer cannot discriminate against women by paying them a smaller wage than a man would make in the same position.

The Ministry of Labor lists some of the permissible acts of discrimination against or on behalf of women. These include jobs in the arts or entertainment industry that specifically require a man or a woman, security jobs that specifically require a man, other jobs in religion, sports, etc. that specifically require a man or a woman.

If you have any questions about discrimination laws in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.