Friday, March 20, 2009

"McDonald's Japan settles overtime wages suit for 10 million yen

"A McDonald's Japan employee has been awarded 10 million yen in unpaid overtime wages in a settlement reached with the company Wednesday.

"Restaurant supervisor Hiroshi Takano, 47, claimed that McDonald's had improperly designated him a "manager" in 1999 and thereby ceased to pay him for overtime work, leading Takano to file suit against the company for unpaid wages totaling some 10 million yen. The settlement reached Wednesday at the Tokyo High Court fulfilled all of Takano's demands.

"The settlement surpassed the 7.55 million yen awarded to Takano in a Tokyo District Court ruling handed down in January 2008. That lower court judgment stated that "considering the plaintiff's level of authority and compensation he cannot be defined as a manager." McDonald's Japan appealed the ruling, but also began paying overtime to its restaurant supervisors starting in August of the same year.

"In addition to the monetary award, the settlement also admits that Takano cannot be considered a manager, and protects him against "demotion, reassignment or reduction of pay for reasons stemming from this suit."

""That the company admitted my client is not a manager means a great deal," said Takano's attorney Ichiro Natsume. "Further, the settlement clause that forbids McDonald's to demote my client in response to the suit is exceptional."

""This case will spur reform of Japan's oppressive long work hours," Natsume opined.

"Explaining the company's reasons for the settlement, McDonald's Japan stated that it was the best management decision, both for Takano and for all of the company's employees."

By Mainichi Shimbun (3/19/2009), Link to article (last visited 3/20/2009)

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