Saizeriya settles with parents of female employee who committed suicide following alleged harassment

an outlet of chain Saizeriya
The family of a female employee of an outlet of chain Saizeriya who committed suicide have reached an out-of-court settlement with the company (Twitter)

TOKYO (TR) – The parents of a female employee of family restaurant chain Saizeriya who filed a suit claiming their daughter was sexually harassed by management prior to her committing suicide has reached an out-of-court settlement with the company, it was learned on Thursday, reports TV Asahi (Apr. 12).

Last year, the parents lodged a suit in the Tokyo District Court claiming the woman, aged in her 20s, suffered from sexual and power harassment by the assistant manager of an outlet of the chain prior to her suicide in December, 2014. The family sought about 100 million yen in compensation.

According to the web site of Saizeriya, the company and the assistant manager reached a settlement on March 15 whereby condolence money for the woman’s parents was agreed upon. No further details were provided.

Came from a diary

A total of six persons from Saizeriya were named in the suit, including the assistant manager and the manager of the same outlet, according to site Bengoshi.com. The basis of the claims came from a diary left behind by the woman.

In the diary, she wrote that the assistant manager, who is married with children, repeatedly forced himself upon her sexually. The suit claimed that the assistant manager and manager, who was also alleged to have been engaged in a relationship with another employee, either inflicted or observed sexual and power harassment.

Prior to the start of the relationship, the assistant manager wrote on one of her pay stubs, “I like you,” according to the suit. He then started fondling her body on the job. The abuse escalated with him repeatedly visiting her residence, where she lived alone, to force her into engaging in sex. “It is fine to die,” she wrote casually in the diary, the suit said.

About one week before her death, the assistant manager told her that he “will die” if she ended their relationship. “Let’s die together,” he said, according to the suit. Shortly thereafter, she took her life by hanging on her balcony with a rope she purchased.

During a cross-examination on December 20, 2017, the assistant manager and manager each disputed the accuracy of the claims in the diary, with both saying that sexual and power harassment did not take place.

Since the woman was a non-regular employee, the suit also alleged that she could not refuse the assistant manager’s advances since she sought regular status. It further claimed that Saizeriya did not take adequate measures to prevent abuse.

Denial by management

According to the assistant manager, the woman approved of their relationship. He pointed to messages sent via the smartphone application Line that indicated she wanted to meet him. Meanwhile, the manager denied that he was involved in a relationship with another employee. For its part, Saizeriya claimed during the trial that it did indeed take sufficient measures to prevent harassment.

According to the company, the amount of compensation that was agreed in March was based on the woman being a regular employee. As well, a clause in the agreement stipulated that the company will further encourage education to prevent sexual harassment.

In speaking through a lawyer, the parents did not offer a comment on the settlement of the case.

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