Ukrainian sues Japan firm over harassment

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Nara District Court

NARA (Jiji Press) — A 27-year-old Ukrainian woman filed a damages lawsuit against a Japanese firm with the Nara District Court on Friday, claiming that she fell into a state of depression due to harassment by a male superior when she worked for the firm.

The Ukrainian woman demanded that Akagi Helicopter Co., an air freight company based in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, pay her some ¥5.5 million.

According to her complaint and other sources, the superior started hurling abusive remarks toward the woman, who was a contract worker at the company’s office in Nara City, on a daily basis around January 2020. He called her “a spy sent from a Russian company” and “a stray dog.”

After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February this year, the woman told the superior that she would like to avoid work related to transactions with Russia.

In response, the superior sent an email to other company workers in April, criticizing her as “a person who is picky at work.”

The superior also told the woman that “Ukraine is also to blame” for the military aggression by Russia.

Since January this year, the woman had been asking the firm to take measures such as relocating the superior. Her requests, however, were ignored and harassment by the superior continued until she was diagnosed to be in a state of depression.

Claiming a need to scale back operations, the company notified her that it would not renew her contract for August and later.

At a press conference on the day, the woman said she cannot forget the words from the superior, adding that the company did not take action as she expected.