Japan: LGBTQ+ Workers’ Rights

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05/14/2024

In Japan, there are no laws that explicitly prohibit employment discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees. In June 2023, Japan passed the Act to Promote LGBT Understanding, which does not extend actual protections to LGBTQ+ employees, but instead encourages awareness. This act also extends to schools and the government. “The main purpose of the act is to just promote the understanding of the situation of the LGBTQ people and their situation among the whole society of Japan,” said Mariko Morita, a lawyer with Mori Hamada & Matsumoto in Tokyo. Employers “are required to make an effort to promote understanding among their employees regarding the LGBTQ or gender identity issues and take measures to create a good working environment for LGBTQ people, … but that’s only the requirement of the act—making an effort, and not strict liability for employers.” This act was a compromise within the legislature between those who pushed for stronger protections for LGBTQ+ employees and those who opposed them. For now, LGBTQ+ employees in Japan are covered under the same anti-discrimination laws as any other employee in Japan. The Act on Equal Opportunity and Treatment Between Men and Women in Employment can potentially be activated if an LGBTQ+ employee is discriminated against.

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