According to a report from the Japan Times, Japan’s Labor ministry will define discrimination against LGBT people is a form of sexual harassment in it’s guideline for employers.
Their present guidelines, sexual harassment is defined as any language or actions that are sexual in nature and directed between or toward employees, but at the moment they have not included reference to LGBT employees.
The new guidelines will now include reference to both sexual preference and gender identity and will be in place from January 2017.
The new guidelines from the Labor ministry after 30 companies in the country, including IBM Japan, Panasonic, Sony, IBM Japan, Dentsu and Dai-ichi Life Insurance announced new standards for LGBT diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
These standards include recognition of same-sex partnerships and the extension of spousal benefits to same-sex partners and bathroom policies for transgender employees.
However, according to Asian advocacy groups, the announcement from the Labor ministry is a good step forward but doesn’t go far enough.
Fern Ngai, CEO of the Hong Kong-based Community Business, had this to say: “Defining workplace discrimination against LGBT individuals as sexual harassment is too narrow, and would also lead to bias as any discrimination would be labeled ‘sexual harassment’. There should be a more comprehensive legal framework for the protection of sexual minorities, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including full anti-discrimination laws.”