French woman who fled Japan after 3/11 sues NHK for unfair dismissal

TOKYO —

NHK is being sued by a French employee who claims the broadcaster unfairly dismissed her after she took a leave of absence from work following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011.

Emmanuelle Bodin, 55, who worked as a translator and did radio work for NHK for 20 years, says she confirmed with her employer that returning home on the advice of the French embassy would not cause a disruption, Fuji TV reported. On March 13, the French Embassy in Tokyo advised its citizens to leave the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Tuesday, Bodin said she arranged for another person to substitute for her and cleared the trip with her superiors, Fuji TV reported. She said she left Japan with her two daughters on March 15, planning to return on March 30, but on March 22, she received a letter from NHK, dismissing her for abandoning her job.

Bodin this week filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court demanding NHK invalidate the dismissal and pay unpaid wages. Her lawyers argue it was unlawful of NHK to dismiss her in light of the French government’s evacuation order issued in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

An NHK spokesperson was quoted by Fuji TV as saying the company saw no legal obstacle to terminating her contract.

Japan Today

  • 15

    cracaphat

    She chose to go,so hence the possible consequences and repercussions of being a foreigner in Japan or anywhere else.Maybe would better to sue her own embassy instead for disinformation.

  • 9

    FPSRussia

    Perhaps this is one of many "Flyjin" cases we haven't heard about yet. Fukushima is / was a nightmare. 3/11 isn't over for a lot of people except the bureaucrats. Everybody has the responsibility to protect themselves BUT if you leave you can't expect things to be the same when you get back.

    If in fact, she, directly from her Embassy, received an evacuation order then NHK has to respect that. They should give her some consideration.

    However the conflict is the difference in perspectives. Japanese had a totally different mindset. They believe in "Shogonai" stay here and die. Act as if nothing has happened. Family is NOT above company here. Employee safety is set to the limits of the insurance provider. After that, it's all on you.

    TBH, I can't call this one. She may win, she may lose. Both parties seem right. So it just comes down to paperwork and the limits of her contract.

  • 4

    basroil

    Her lawyers argue it was unlawful of NHK to dismiss her in light of the French government’s evacuation order issued in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

    And common sense argues another country's government has nothing to do with the internal politics of Japan. Japanese government never ordered an evacuation of the country, so there's no legal right to leave her job. Now, if she has a signed form from her boss stating that she was cleared to go until the time she requested, that's a different story, but since they are not even mentioning, let alone discussing, that, it looks like an open and shut case of an employee breaking contract.

  • 14

    waltery

    I'm not surprised the national broadcaster would pull a stunt like this. If they oked the trip then she should go all the way. I hope this story travels around the globe so they see how callis some Japanese Companies treat there staff, when following directives for the sake of there children.

  • 17

    JA_Cruise

    It clearly says she got a substitute to fill in and got clearance on taking the trip from her superiors. If she went against direct orders not to go, then it would be abandoning her job, but it is clearly not the case. She has every right to sue NHK for unlawful termination and either they should give her job back, or give her at least 1 year pay as severance. Everything is stacked up against NHK.

  • 13

    sakurala

    I hope that she has proof to back her up that her trip was given the green light. Also, it may be helpful if she can get her replacement to testify. However, if the replacement wasn't up to standard, that may also go against her. She has the burdan of proof so hopefully she shows up prepared. Otherwise, it is her word against theirs and it probably isn't going to work out so well.

  • 5

    ADK99

    You can't realistically expect things to be the same after you leave, but I am rather amused that so much of the disinformation that led people to listen to their own embassies over the government emanated from NHK.

  • -10

    BoredToTears

    I don't care if NHK did approve her leaving. If NHK decided her "temporary" replacement was better, why should NHK take her back?

  • -3

    basroil

    FPSRussiaJan. 16, 2013 - 02:13PM JST

    If in fact, she, directly from her Embassy, received an evacuation order then NHK has to respect that.

    No, NHK is owned by the Japanese government, operates only in Japan, and had a pre-existing contract, so the embassy/France has zero say in what happens. It's like if the Japanese government were to turn around and say that Japanese citizens should quit their jobs in France because they have another strain of flu. Makes no sense any way you slice it. In fact, embassies can't mandate their citizens do anything while in another country, they can only suggest, bribe, or otherwise coerce them, in the case of students, they threatened to withdraw scholarships, and lead to a lost year (in some cases nearly 4 years) for hundreds of students who were forced to drop out of school. This person was not being paid by France, so she should sue the French government for lost earnings if anything.

    JA_CruiseJan. 16, 2013 - 02:30PM JST

    It clearly says she got a substitute to fill in and got clearance on taking the trip from her superiors. If she went against direct orders not to go, then it would be abandoning her job, but it is clearly not the case.

    She said it, but that doesn't mean she can prove it. Without proof, she's the one violating contract. After 20 years in broadcast I think she would know that if it isn't in writing, it's not an agreement. Perhaps the article is biased against her and she does have that proof, but until it's stated otherwise, it seems that she has none.

  • 13

    Speed

    I agree with JA_Cruise that if she consulted and got clearance from NHK to leave then she shouldn't have been terminated.

  • 16

    zichi

    Looks like NHK were just waiting for a way to fire her, just 7 days after she left. She would probably have been better to claim sickness. She's a French national and so followed the recommendations of her gov't, just like thousands of Americans and others did. Had she not left, and the nuclear disaster had become more critical than it was, she may have found it harder to get support from her gov't.

  • 13

    davestrousers

    Firing her that quickly after 20 years of service is excessive.

  • 8

    The passage

    Interesting case. The French Embassy DID send communications to its citizens to evacuate Tokyo. It left a lot of people very confused, as the Japanese government was saying it is safe to stay (rightly in my view, but lets argue that somewhere else (again)). Given that conflict of info and the constant barrage of bad news in the media AND the offer of a free flight home, I think many would take up the offer. We aren't party to what happened either when she said she was leaving or any interaction after that so can't really comment, but the real driver is that communication from the Embassy that pushed her over the edge and made her leave.** Therefore, sue the French government!! **

  • 6

    The passage

    She's a French national and so followed the recommendations of her gov't, just like thousands of Americans and others did.

    Zichi, did the US government say to evacuate Tokyo? I know they had a broader exclusion zone.

  • -1

    Disillusioned

    Ah, Japanese business ethics at its finest! If she has nothing in writing confirming she had cleared her leave with her supervisor so she will not win.

  • -2

    David Wagner

    97% of the radiation remains in the containment vessels at Fukushima. That it didn't escape was pure luck. Had it escaped, she would have been one of the lucky ones. To chastise someone for trusting one's instincts is ridiculous...

  • 4

    Outta here

    basroil

    And common sense argues another country's government has nothing to do with the internal politics of Japan.

    Basroil, she is a French citizen, her government ordered the evacuation as such she was following the advice of her government. And yes it has nothing to do with the internal politics of Japan. Heck even Japan gives its citizens travel advice for other countries and that is what happened here. Imagine the outrage if a Japanese citizen working in France was told by the Japanese government to evacuate dissolved and lost their job.... The whining would be incessant...

    Japanese government never ordered an evacuation of the country, so there's no legal right to leave her job.

    Actually there is a legal right for her to leave. I will give you a personal example, my family was in Japan at the time of the disaster and even though the Japanese company said there was no risk our home company issued a directive that we could not travel any further north than Tokyo and if we did we would no longer be covered by them for any health or emergency support and any ongoing health issues that may arise would not be covered on our return to our home country. So what should we have done ignored this merely because the Japanese said it was safe.... Same thing with is poor woman her government, you know the one that she pays taxes to, the one she would return home to told her to leave Tokyo so she did.

    Now, if she has a signed form from her boss stating that she was cleared to go until the time she requested, that's a different story, but since they are not even mentioning, let alone discussing, that, it looks like an open and shut case of an employee breaking contract.

    Clearly the article states she had permission to go. Then to fire her should in any reasonable country be illegal.

  • 11

    Blair Herron

    If she has nothing in writing confirming she had cleared her leave with her supervisor so she will not win.

    She called and told NHK she couldn't come in to work. She also said eight other workers in her section fled Japan but all were allowed back to work. An NHK spokesman said other foreign contractors had notified NHK at least a day in advance, while Bodin waited until 3 and a half hours before her program. Her lawyers said provisions of the contract say NHK can terminate the deal if the employee's inadequate work performance has no prospect for improvement or if a situation occurs in which the firm has no choice but to end the contract. NHK told Bodin that its reasons for terminating her contract were based on these provisions.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20130116a6.html

  • -12

    Waxman

    I know many cowards who ran away from Japan and lost their job when they came back. Coincidentally I was out of Japan when the earthquake happened but I came back to Japan and went to my office as per my promise. My employers were glad and few who ran away showed up quickly as they heard of me back in office. Japan has this samurai culture and they cut and slit their stomach rather than running away. And NHK is just not another employer, it stands for Japan and is a part of government. So French lady....u better pack ur bags again.

  • 1

    The passage

    97% of the radiation remains in the containment vessels at Fukushima. That it didn't escape was pure luck. Had it escaped, she would have been one of the lucky ones. To chastise someone for trusting one's instincts is ridiculous...

    The fact that x% escaped (not sure your number is correct) is actually bad luck, not the other way around.

  • 4

    rickyvee

    if she was in France when she got the letter, then NHK must have fired her almost immediately after fleeing japan because it would take almost a week for the letter to arrive.

    There are just too many gaps in this story to make an informed comment.

  • 2

    tmarie

    Emmanuelle Bodin, 55, who worked as a translator and did radio work for NHK for 20 years, says she confirmed with her employer that returning home on the advice of the French embassy would not cause a disruption...

    Are people missing this? She cleared it with NHK before leaving. Kind of like clearing a holiday with your boss and coming back and finding out you don't have a job because you skipped work. I hope she wins. Had she just taken off I would feel otherwise but she got permission, found a replacement and was told it wouldn't be an issue. Case closed, pay her the money.

  • 0

    tmarie

    If NHK decided her "temporary" replacement was better, why should NHK take her back?

    Because they told her she could leave and would have a job when she came back? Kind of like how sick leave and mat leave work. Though seeing as how many in Japan feel the same way as you do about mat leave, if it any wonder women don't take it here?

  • 3

    FPSRussia

    @basroil I'm going to respond to you assuming that you weren't coming after me personally in debate but rather that you simply want to dispute a few key elements.

    Let me explain why I think we have different opinions and then maybe the fog of war might clear up.

    Your comment gives me the impression that contracts and anything written on paper take precedence over unforeseen circumstances. IMO that's the Japanese mindset and it's inevitable flaw that leads to some of Japan's past major disasters.

    I'm leaning her way cause her life does not belong to Japan or NHK under any circumstances. I'm sure you are familiar with the euphemism term "indentured servants" That's simply not the case here. Especially in modern times.

    Here's the FACT: Her passport is from France. Her nationality alone takes precedence over any contract. If in fact, her Embassy told her to get the hell out of dodge then she should act accordingly. She can of course ignore that and risk nuclear contamination.

    I just want to be absolutely clear where I stand so you don't have to come at me so fiercely. I thought I made it clear that I'm sitting on the fence on this one. I feel that both parties were right to take the actions that they did.

    For her own personal safety she left. This is a sound decision.
    NHK is right in seeking a replacement if it's proven that she violated the terms of her contract.

    Now here's the pickle. She worked for NHK for 20 years. That's a lifetime and a clear sign of commitment to the company. We all know that after 3/11 the circumstances were "extra-ordinary".

    Outside Japan, we don't believe that companies are looking out for our best interests. We certainly don't feel that Japanese companies are looking out for their foreign personnel. Nobody called me after 3/11 from my company. I called them.

    If she did not communicate with NHK properly, such as extended leave of absence, by documents then NHK will be right.

    I really can't call it.

    We have to take care of ourselves. We do not hold Japanese passports and therefore are not part of the club.

    All Embassies after 3/11 reached out to their nationals and offered protective and urgent services BECAUSE they understood that your local ward offices wouldn't come looking for anybody who wasn't Japanese.

    Now you tell me, who do you think she should have listened to?

  • 0

    Meguroman

    The lesson seems to be that one should give reasonable notice and get the employer`s permission in writing if you really would like to keep your options open afterwards. The French embassy was one of the most vocal about advising its citizens to leave. However, did she and the others really have to leave the country? - I know many people, gaijin and Japanese, who went for a stay in Kansai or Kyushu, etc. This seemed like a reasonable response to those who had children or just felt too frightened to stay in Tohoku or even Kanto.

  • -5

    Heda_Madness

    You make your bed, you lie in it.

    I have no sympathy for her but I wonder why it's taken her nearly 2 years to do this.

  • -2

    FPSRussia

    It is not "cowardly" to protect yourself and your family. That's just a cheap shot. If anything, by leaving, they did Japan a favor. They got out of the way for a while.

    I have pictures of the supermarket shelves...bare. I have pictures of the long cues for gas, only to get 3 or 4 liters.

    This rhetoric some people are posting right now sounds like "Misery loves company".

    Here's a wake up call for a not so international Tokyo. Japan's government and it's agencies that serve the public do not have the capacity to communicate with the Non-Japanese residents. These people removed themselves from the equation.

    Information on rolling blackouts was not posted in multiple languages. Water delivery days were not posted in any other language other than Japanese.

  • 4

    GW

    Well folks out there in J-Inc land you now know if you didnt already that you can be fired, let go etc etc basically on a whim!

    It looks like she went above & beyond getting a replacement in place, ............ from what I am reading i'd say she has a case, BUT because this is Japan, she sure as hell wont win in court! In the off chance she did win it will take years & in the end the court will award her a few hundred thousand yen at best so the only victory she can hope for is a moral one.

    If I were her I'd take this a clear reason change employment & possibly even leave for good, look at it as an omen to make a new start, something that 3/11 should have done for ALL of Japan but sadly nothing has changed & Japan has actually gone BACKWARDS in time!

  • 8

    lesterlok

    Her lawyers are completely lieing. I am french too, was there during the 3/11 crisis, and there never was a strict order to evacuate. The consulate was sending emails every day about the situation and was only suggesting it might be safer to leave.

  • 1

    lesterlok

    lying

  • 3

    slumdog

    says she confirmed with her employer that returning home on the advice of the French embassy would not cause a disruption

    I wonder if she confirmed she would have a job when she returned and I further wonder if she confirmed with them that she would be back on the 30th. If she did both of these things and has proof, she has a case. If not, I think it is difficult for her to make a case.

  • 9

    slumdog

    Her lawyers argue it was unlawful of NHK to dismiss her in light of the French government’s evacuation order issued in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

    I was not aware that French law was applicable in Japan.

  • 6

    Heda_Madness

    FPSRussia

    Speak for yourself but don't speak for most foreigners. I dont know anyone who felt like a ronin

    I do know many, many foreigners who got involved and helped out

    Please don't make sweeping statements about the foreign community

  • -7

    FPSRussia

    @slumdog It's not that France is imposing their laws on Japan. She, this individual, must respond to it cause she is Frence. This is just a matter of understanding their legal strategy.

    An employee of 20 years is committed. She, with no ill-intention to abandon her post, was required to follow orders by her Embassy / Country.

    It continually sounds like your attitude is this: Anybody who lands in this nation becomes immediate property of Japan and should NOT following the laws of their home country. Her home country....you know.....the one where she's allowed to vote.

  • 4

    Waxman

    French embassy only advised to leave if you feel safe back home. Even US Embassy was sending regular update emails to all their nationals. So if she left that is her own choice but now she is blaming NHK for her decision. They got an immediate replacement for that French lady, why did that replacement not ran away back to France or somewhere else.

  • 1

    Waxman

    FPSRussia

    Working 20 year does not means she owns NHK and can come or go whenever she wants!!!

    French Embassy never ordered such evacuation but they do advise to take shelter back in France IF YOU MAY LIKE TO DO SO.

  • 3

    The passage

    Are people missing this? She cleared it with NHK before leaving.

    @tmarie - she SAYS she did, but no detail from either side as to what that agreement (if there was one) was. We can guess and assume, but we don't know (yet).

    It was a huge decision for her, just imagine leaving behind all the people that you have worked with for 20 years, not knowing if they will be the walking dead when (if) you get back because of the radiation spillage. Think about them staying here and their own concerns with extended families, etc. Imagine thinking about them everyday as you reside in the relative safety of France and the psychological effect that must have both in leading up to the decision and then afterwards. Maybe she was on the phone everyday to NHK to see if everyone was OK, or maybe she did nothing, and didn't worry about it,

  • 11

    cleo

    It looks like she went above & beyond getting a replacement in place

    NHK is apparently saying that she gave three and a half hours' notice while others who left and were allowed back gave at least a day's notice. Seems too that she was on an annual contract. Not the most secure of careers.

    Japan's government and it's agencies that serve the public do not have the capacity to communicate with the Non-Japanese residents. These people removed themselves from the equation.

    Information on rolling blackouts was not posted in multiple languages. Water delivery days were not posted in any other language other than Japanese.

    I imagine a lady who has lived and worked here in excess of 20 years can at least read enough Japanese to work out times and dates. As a French speaker, she could have played an important role getting info out to Francophone residents who didn't know when the power would be going off or when the water would be delivered.

  • 7

    slumdog

    It continually sounds like your attitude is this: Anybody who lands in this nation becomes immediate property of Japan and should NOT following the laws of their home country. Her home country....you know.....the one where she's allowed to vote.

    I also was not aware that my two previous post constituted 'constant'. My point is simply that NHK in Japan is not subject to French laws. In addition, I am not convinced French laws have anything to do with this discussion.

    “It seems reasonable to advise those who do not have a particular reason to stay in the Tokyo region to leave the Kanto (Tokyo) region for a few days,” a statement on the French embassy website in Japan said.

  • 2

    Heda_Madness

    Following on from Cleo's post it's fair to assume that given she worked as a translator for NHK she has a reasonable command of the Japanese language and she would have been able to understand when the blackouts would be occurring. Which is of course assuming she was outside of central Tokyo.

    And a quick Google shows that the Press Conference was in English and Japanese.

  • 5

    Heda_Madness

    “It seems reasonable to advise those who do not have a particular reason to stay in the Tokyo region to leave the Kanto (Tokyo) region for a few days,” a statement on the French embassy website in Japan said

    There was no order and it could be reasonably stated that work is a particular reason to stay in Kanto. It also didn't say to leave Japan.

  • -4

    tmarie

    @tmarie - she SAYS she did, but no detail from either side as to what that agreement (if there was one) was. We can guess and assume, but we don't know (yet).

    The japantime article has NHK crying saying that her leaving would disrupt the program. However, her leaving didn;t because she found a replacement. You think she's just upset and left and NHK managed to find a replacement in 3.5 hours (if their claim on time is correct)? I don't. If I was about to leaving a job and was NOT told my job was secure, you can bet your bottom dollar I wouldn't find a replacement for them. NHK's side on this doesn't add up.

    And yes, 21 years with NHK on yearly contracts. If anything says how poor NHK is, that would be it.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    Everything is stacked up against NHK.

    I am so glad that you don't run the court system. There are two sides to every story and all we hear is the side of the woman from France.

    Give NHK it's chance in court too. Because from what it seems to me it an I said...you said...kind of case with out any real evidence from either side being shown here, and honestly it would surprise me if it was shown here anyway.

    She is trying her case in the court of public opinion here on JT. Let's see if the major networks pick it up and where it goes from here. Typically speaking this case could take years and years..

  • -1

    Tony Alderman

    She clearly has no idea how Japan works despite all her years here.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    She clearly has no idea how Japan works despite all her years here.

    She is French right?

  • 0

    blue_monday

    Sounds like NHK were looking for an excuse to dump her anyway, maybe their preferred the substitute.

  • 5

    The passage

    tmarie

    And yes, 21 years with NHK on yearly contracts. If anything says how poor NHK is, that would be it.

    Its not uncommon for tranlsators to be on temp contracts. Even assistants to CEO's are quite often temps. I guess the surprising thing now is the claim for 22mio yen - that's how much she earns in a partial year? Wow, I'm in the wrong job. And as for getting her job back, NHK could just not bother to renew, and they can do that at any contract rollover point so she has no grounds.

    Got admit, 3.5 hours before her shift is a bit tight. I wonder what her colleagues think of her.

  • 2

    The passage

    Sounds like NHK were looking for an excuse to dump her anyway, maybe their preferred the substitute.

    May have been financial. The substitute may have been cheaper than 22mio!! Maybe more hardworking? More flexible? All kinds of possibilities.

  • 1

    hoserfella

    She is trying her case in the court of public opinion here on JT.

    Yubaru - she was speaking to the venerable Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, not imaginary JT reporters.

  • 0

    Pidestroika

    She clearly has no idea how Japan works despite all her years here.

    And ofcourse you do, your omniscient majesty. You're wasting yourself posting here.

    Amazing how some posters attack the worker. Solidarity obviously means nothing to them. The reason why she left is irrelevant. She cleared with her employees, (proof is that she arranged for a substitute), caused no trouble and left. Next time you go back to your country because a member of your family is sick or whatever and you get fired remember what you wrote here.

  • -1

    tmarie

    She clearly has no idea how Japan works despite all her years here.

    Or perhaps she does which is why she's gone public with all of this? I think anyone who works in Japan for more than a few months clearly knows HOW Japan works but will fight it - unlike most of the locals who "shoganai" it and then appear on NHK specials on being poor and on contract work.

    The passage, indeed this IS how many places work here but that doesn't mean the system is good. 21 years is a long time to be on a yearly contract - this wasn't a free lance thing. Free lance don't continuously work 21 years on yearly contracts.

    Though yes, if that was her pay, I am certainly in the wrong job as well.

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    She is 100% correct in what she is doing, but this is Japan and she will never win.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    What she should be doing alongside suing NHK is to be speaking to foreign media and talking about intolerance by the Japanese broadcaster, and mistreatment of foreigners -- at the very least that will probably hasten some kind of deal to avoid embarrassment.

  • 1

    Maria

    (I have only read the article and not your comments, so forgive me if I am repeating what others have already said, but:)

    She was fired after only a week away? A week away which she had ok'd with her workplace and found a replacement for (an unnecessary and extremely accommodating measure)?

    She is quite right to sue.

  • 0

    humanrights

    I hope she wins and sets a new touchstone for Employers who abuse foreign workers.

  • 1

    taj

    Article states that she says she got permission, but not that she got it in writing.

    IF she had got it in writing, this wouldn't be going to court. A clear win for her.

    Which makes me think it's a she said, they said situation.

    I don't like her lawyers tactics. If she wins, based on being able to desert from work at the whim of a foreign government, that's just another excuse to NOT hire foreigners in general, and French people in particular.

    I do hope she's got a stronger case and some witnesses to the ""permission" she received to leave.

  • -12

    Nadège

    She clearly did know how japan work because we all know TEPCO wanted to leave the site and not contain anything.

    I should add that in France durying the tchernobyl incident we were told frontier had stopped the radioactive cloud!!! And then when we discover it was wrong they told us there was no danger in this cloud and waited weeks to tell the people there to not eat the food that come from their garden. The tyroid cancer or disability after that were numerous.

    We don't trust information that say nothing is wrong in France. That's basic rule.

    Now in France we pursue our bosses just in case. Even if we are wrong. That's basic rule too.

    I doubt in the panic with her daughters behind her this woman took much care for her replacement.... and i have no doubt tepco had a deer need of their transalators in this moment where japan was the center of the world.

    It was her job and responsability to stay and help. I've no doubt NHK will justify the prejudice and she will lose her job and compensation. No need to be japaneese or to understand japan to know she made a mistake.

    In France too she would be guilty.

    But NHK will have to justify that the other eight one did warn the day before (conveniently there are japaneese that will never find an other job if they say otherwise, a good argument for defense, and that paper, after game, in this case can be easily falsified) and that none of their absence caused prejudice to NHK. Even more, if the need for translators was so strong, why did they left so many people take the leave ?

    Everyone was afraid at the time, the good call was to leave and forget. Even more i am pretty sure it was to put her children in security in France. She probably came back alone.

    NHK might lose because they didn't concider circonstances who were exceptionnal.

    The last question the judge will have to answer, if she japaneese and a man, with the mean to leave easily, would she be fired now ? Where was her boss for example ? Was there someone to warn ?

    She did assure for someone to take her place where was this person ? What happened ? Did other people were fired in the light of similar circonstances in NHK ? Were they japaneese or not ?

    Every decision of NHK here will have to be justified. In France, we don't do small and judge racism severely.

    Even if she is declared guilty, i doubt NHK will leave with their reputation intact.

    That's many questions that will have now to be answered. At least journalist (foreign one not japaneese) migh have something to write about Japan. And she will find a job as counsultant about japan in China. Constructive point of view about Japan is too rare to be wasted. :)

    The only way for her to win is to make noise. ++

  • -9

    Nadège

    I jsut hope for her she won't make the mistake to accept her old job back as a compensation.... Regret and forget.... Doubtfull.

  • 0

    taj

    @Pidestroika I agree with most of what you said, this bit gives me pause:

    She cleared with her employees, (proof is that she arranged for a substitute),

    I don't think that would stand as proof that they told her her job would be kept available for her, even if she left abruptly and for an undetemined period.

  • -8

    Aristoman

    I'm "Flyjin" and I am proud on it to protect my small beautiful daughters from nuclear crises. Nobody knew how it will end. My company was very nice to me. No need to sue anybody. French lady, way to go!!! you have all my respects.

  • -4

    basroil

    FPSRussiaJan. 16, 2013 - 03:32PM JST

    I'm going to respond to you assuming that you weren't coming after me personally in debate but rather that you simply want to dispute a few key elements.

    I debate what's said, not people. It gets ugly really quickly when people debate people.

    Your comment gives me the impression that contracts and anything written on paper take precedence over unforeseen circumstances.

    No, in the case of immediate danger contracts can take a hike. However, there was absolutely no immediate danger at the time of departure, so if she didn't get clearance in writing or equivalent, she should have stayed until she did get that clearance.

    I'm leaning her way cause her life does not belong to Japan or NHK under any circumstances.

    Her job on the other hand does belong to NHK under all circumstances. We aren't talking about anything else, just her job.

    Here's the FACT: Her passport is from France. Her nationality alone takes precedence over any contract. If in fact, her Embassy told her to get the hell out of dodge then she should act accordingly.

    Here's the fact, her job is from NHK. Her contract alone dictates if she is employed or not. If she violates the contract, she is no longer employed. Nationality has nothing to do with the contract.

    tmarieJan. 16, 2013 - 06:29PM JST

    Or perhaps she does which is why she's gone public with all of this?

    More people are still against flyjin than support them, so it's almost certainly not a good idea to go public on it. In fact, she went to foreign correspondents rather than Japanese ones, which shows she doesn't want Japanese reaction, rather international one.

    Outta hereJan. 16, 2013 - 03:11PM JST

    she is a French citizen, her government ordered the evacuation as such she was following the advice of her government.

    French laws, directives, and statements have no legal standing anywhere outside France. French citizens may be held responsible for crimes committed abroad, but foreign citizens and companies can simply ignore anything France says because it has nothing to do with them. Her contract was with a Japanese company, so France has no say in what that company can ask of it's employee. If she had been working for a French company in Japan, that might be different, but it's not the case here.

    Actually there is a legal right for her to leave. I will give you a personal example, my family was in Japan at the time of the disaster and even though the Japanese company said there was no risk our home company issued a directive that we could not travel any further north than Tokyo and if we did we would no longer be covered by them for any health or emergency support

    No, your example and this woman's case are entirely different. The company was a purely Japanese company, which did not issue any such evacuation order. I personally gave a similar example that explained this exact issue, so please reread the entire post rather than scraping the top of ideas already fully discussed.

    Clearly the article states she had permission to go.

    The article clearly states she said she had cleared with her boss about taking a trip and arranged a replacement. It didn't state she had permission to leave her job, only that she thought she had it. Without written documentation (or equivalent), there is no clarity on the subject of if she did or didn't actually have permission. After 20 years working here, she should have more than known to get her boss's seal on something saying she needed to be out for a few days.

    As another poster mentioned (Blair Herron), she called the day of departure, having prepared to leave before even discussing the situation with her employer.

  • 3

    taj

    @tmarie > If I was about to leaving a job and was NOT told my job was secure, you can bet your bottom dollar I wouldn't find a replacement for them. NHK's side on this doesn't add up.

    If you worked for me, I may not be able to guarantee your job security, if you were unable to guarantee a return date, but your chances would be a helluva lot better if you tried to minimize my pain by filling the void with someone temporary. Introducing a housewife who'd be happy for some temp work would be your best way to keep your job available.

    Please keep in mind we haven't hear NHK's side. (Or much of this woman's side, either, to be honest.)

  • -4

    hatsoff

    20 years service to NHK, nuclear crisis happening and completely unpredictable how its going to pan out, mother of two daughters and worried about her family, the French embassy advises its citizens to leave, she spends time fixing up a replacement - fixing up a replacement would seem to indicate that she did indeed clear it with her superiors - so NHK is not left high and dry....

    I sympathise with her.

    Working 20 year does not means she owns NHK and can come or go whenever she wants!!!

    Pointless exaggeration. A nonsense sentence.

  • -4

    Pidestroika

    A lot of speculation going on here and everbody's an expert on what she might have said or done, how she lived her life and how brave she is. Arranging for a substitute means 1) she cared for her job and 2) she talked to her boss about it. We all know how it works. You don't ask another guy to cover for you without first telling your boss about it. NHK is in the wrong here because: 1. she only wanted to work 2. if she wasn't good at her job she wouldn't been doing it for 20 years 3. there is nothing to indicate whether NHK contact her to ask her if and when she will return

    NHK behaved following Waxman's way of thinking (working for NHK, are we?). Exacting revenge on a "coward gaijin". Following 3/11 A LOT of Tokyo citizens left the city with their families for their country hometowns terrified of the radioactivity and the continuous after shocks. Those who stayed in Tokyo remember how empty the city was. Were they all fired or where they all "cowards"? No. It's another blatant case of racism towards a foreign worker. There should be a strike of all foreign trasnlators working for NHK in support of a fellow worker. Today Emmanuelle, tomorrow you.

  • 2

    basroil

    PidestroikaJan. 16, 2013 - 08:02PM JST

    A lot of speculation going on here

    Yes, which is because people are not reading other articles on the issue. Here are the "facts" (with who stated them):

    1) France issued a travel recommendation on the 13th (French embassy)

    2) She contacted a co-worker to cover her shift on the 15th (her lawyers)

    3) She first contacted her employer on the 15th about getting time off (NHK)

    4) She left Japan on the 15th (her)

    5) NHK sent her a letter of termination on the 22nd, a week after she left (NHK, her)

    8 of her co-workers also left for extended periods but were accepted back (her, NHK)

    The other 8 workers had given at least a day more of notice before departure (NHK)

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20130116a6.html (thanks to Blair Herron for the link)

    You don't ask another guy to cover for you without first telling your boss about it.

    You do if it's within the same company and section. The temp was already an employee, so it's basically like calling in sick. But like calling in sick, there's a limit to how much you can ask the other person to cover before your job becomes redundant and fair game for termination.

    Were they all fired or where they all "cowards"? No. It's another blatant case of racism towards a foreign worker.

    Eight people left NHK, all but her were back to work with no issue. If all of them had been fired that would be one thing, but only she was fired.

  • -3

    Pidestroika

    Last comment from my part on the issue. NHK could have simply made it a leave without payment and the story would be over. Firing her shows no respect or appreciation for her job of more than 20 years and again I believe it shows racism (however basroil wants to interpret things) towards a foreign fellow worker whom we should all support. Perhaps you believe jobs are "fair game" and companies have the right to treat people like garbage but I don't and never will.

  • -3

    Balefire

    Under ordinary circumstances, I'd say that only a few hours' notice by phone would be unacceptable, but I'd also wonder about what she had actually been told by phone about her job prospects upon return.

    They were extraordinary circumstances at the time, though. There was a lot of panic, a lot of misinformation when there was any information at all, and a great deal of anxiety.

    There is probably some fibbing going on on one or both sides, but I'm more likely to believe it's NHK not playing with a full deck.

  • 6

    Cos

    That wouldn't be the first unfair dismissal in history, but that may not be the case at all.

    cleared the trip with her superiors

    What does "clearing the trip" means ? She asked the permission or she announced her departure ? That someone asks an emergency leave for personal reasons(health, problems in their family...) happens often, and all companies have a book of rules that defines the application form, etc. If she did things normally, she has the document with the stamp of her superior. That's the process for anyone that asks for days off in Japan or in France. Now, if she called saying "My Embassy told me it's dangerous, so I leave tonight, I send my friend X to replace me." and they said "OK, we understand. Have a nice trip."... well, they couldn't prevent her from leaving.

    French government’s evacuation order

    BS. Authorities can only recall people working for government, like Embassy staff, military. To civilians, they only give advice and propose to go and get, but I mean in emergencies like Mali . In March 2011, they told people that were working in Tokyo they could do it as usual.

    Now in France we pursue our bosses just in case. Even if we are wrong.

    Totally. Some people try, always and they often end up getting something. Some civilians went to the Embassy and to all our representative persons (they copied all the mails, all the questions and answers so everybody could see). Some have ask the Embassy to call their Japanese employers and say the French had to leave, should be given leaves, etc, but the Embassy has told them it was their personal choice and they had to discuss themselves with employers even with French companies. That was clearly said in French.

    planning to return on March 30, ..

    So on March 31st did she go to bring her case to Hallo Work ?

    .Bodin this week filed a lawsuit

    It's a really long time after the war

    fixing up a replacement would seem to indicate that she did indeed clear it with her superiors

    No, that tends to indicate the contrary. Companies hate that you accept an assignment, but send someone they have not chosen to do it, and announce them after you have "hired" the other person.

    a housewife who'd be happy for some temp work

    That's exactly what employers don't accept, a total stranger starting to work at their place within a few minutes.

  • -2

    hkitagawa

    I think not fair to be fired in this way. Imagine, 20 years working for NHK and dismissed without logical reasons. She will certainly win the case.

  • 1

    seesaw1

    Bullshit..! NHK was just waiting for the right timing to get rid of her. She's 55 and it's the lay-off workers age. Hence they accused her of abandoning her job.

    It happened to my friend as well. The company asked her to take temporary leave and she went home since her schedule annual leave was around the corner. When she returns her boss who doesn't like her just coldly told her the company can't renew her contract. She only found out the truth 6 months later from the HR Manager that her boss claimed she was incompetent, and she abandoned her job.....

    So the story sounds so familiar to me.

  • 4

    Balefire

    @hkitagawa Having worked for over 30 years with a very large Japanese company, and being very familiar with several others, if I were you I wouldn't rely on long years of faithful service--or any promises not made in writing, regardless of how often repeated by multiple superiors--to make much of a difference once your continued presence has become inconvenient. "Logical reasons" may not be particularly important, either, unless you end up in court, and maybe not then, either.

  • 5

    French_fries

    Reasons for her being fired might be somewhere else and her sheltering in France gave them an excuse

    Here's a story for you guys: I work in a Nikkei company (close to 6000 employees), the day after the earthquake, employees who could come back at work did so. Few days later, we receive regular message from the embassy suggesting us if we wished to get out of Tokyo region (before 17/03). On 17/03 here's the message we get from the embassy:

    NE PAS REPONDRE A CE MAIL == == Répondez à : aideretour.tokyo-amba@diplomatie.gouv.fr ==

    1- Compte-tenu de l’évolution possible de la situation, il est recommandé aux Français de Tokyo de quitter la région pour le sud du pays ou pour la France.

    Translation: according to the possible evloution of the situation, it is recommended to the french citizens living in Tokyo to leave the region and head South or return to France.

    Clear enough ? There's no more "if you wish so". I showed this message to my boss and asked for his advice, he told me to leave until situation cools down. I do so. Meanwhile in the company only 30% of the effective were present, 70% fled already to the south, long before the french embassy gave express recommendations to leave. Took my little kids of 2 years and 3 years to Kyoto with my wife where we stayed in her family I stayed 4 days there and came back to work, my family remained in Kyoto 2 more weeks. Back to the company, here are the reactions: most employees were nice and comprehensive, the only single criticism came from a chinese girl who proudly screamed that she remained in the company with everyone and that she was so proud (and 50 years old, single, no children by the way) and that I, and the other foreign employees who took refuge, were traitors. Not a single japanese staff told me such thing. Few weeks later I bump into the chairman in the elevator who tells me " You took refuge in Kyoto during the crisis? - Yes - You are not to be blamed for this, in other countries when there are such troubles, japanese are always the first to be repatriated so don't worry if some people ever tells you negative comments". And I mean wow, this is truly japanese: caring hearts.

    The Fukushima crisis was an extraordinary situation, worst crisis since Chernobyl, and there are still some people who believe that company goes first no matter what. When I was in Kyoto all hotels were full and we came across Tokyo people (yes japanese!) who were rushing to the town hall to get their passport and go overseas. Any comments on those "traitors"? Do not judge those who cared more about their family rather than their company because family primes before anything else. Of course if the company is your only family, that's another story..

    To make it short, NHK invoking the fact that she "abandoned her post" is ridiculous.

  • -4

    gogogo

    She took her leave, sounds like someone in HR at NHK didn't do their research before firing her. I hope sues the pants off those blood suckers.

  • 6

    michikokada

    Thanks for Blair Herron's link because it provides more details of the scenario and I think NHK can win the case:

    1. Embassy's evacuation order is advisory, not binding hence not obligatory, Mme Bodin had to made that decision by herself. The order merely " strongly advised" implying the danger and basically they couldn't help further those who choose to stay and clear all responsibilities thereafter - in the face of war/ post-disaster, best any government can do is to arrange charter planes and reach out to as many as possible nationals with a warning, they cannot force their nationals to evacuate because it's not a legal obligation by any set of laws: national, EU or international.
    2. NHK is a broadcaster, at the peak of sending information nationwide and worldwide on a major disaster (happened on 11th, Mme Bodin wanted to take leave on 15th), the nature of her job is within the scope of journalism, NHK would reasonably expect an experienced announcer to stand by her job to perform; Mme Bodin on the other hand, if she considers herself a true correspondent since she chose the club to announce the case, she should know the Code, especially that of a foreign correspondent: they don't leave the post when big news like this happens, not 4days afterwards when after quakes and aftermaths are uncleared.
    3. Her temp replacement is probably not as "experienced" as she does ( but possibly with a better understanding of Code of Conduct in journalism), otherwise NHK should promote the temp, that's perhaps indeed what they did later on. Again, in the wake of such incidents, news agencies/corporations do reasonably expect their most experienced employees to perform. Here, Mme Bodin's seniority became disadvantage ( against her) in the case.
    4. The fashion in which she demanded her leave was problematic: "3.5hrs notice before her program" scheduled to air and she "called". She is FRENCH, let's reason her way, so: even in France, a 15-day leave cannot be arranged just by "calling", both the time and the choice of replacement personnel must be ok by superior at least 24-48hrs prior to the holiday actually commences, whether or not the replacement is coming within the same company/section. SICK leaves can shorten the notice period but then she needs to provide the employer with a doctor's note once she is back to the office. AND this applies to "common" companies where contingency plans have less time pressure as that of a news broadcaster. In this case, we can cast certain doubt over whether her supervisor was "forced" into agreement of her arrangements because she called only "3.5hours before her program" which left her superior not much room to seek alternatives and to risk the program not properly broadcast. Did she obtain a written approval from her supervisor regarding the leave afterwards?
    5. The letter she received was "dated" 22nd, that shows no intention of NHK to fire her before the incident happened on 15th. On the contrary, that gave NHK enough time to evaluate from a broadcaster's point of view whether Mme Bodin is still fit for the job, ie. her performance is likely to improve or she is going to carry on with this attitude when the next big news breaks in.
    6. The best Mme Bodin can hope for to build a case is age/gender discrimination ( if Japanese law has any clauses in her favour in the scope), not on nationality, unfortunately she has to realise that venue of court and legislations applied must be in Japan and Japanese. Because she is suing NHK and she is a (former) employee of NHK, probably a resident of Japan and Japan is not a member country of the EU. There is no ground for discrimination on nationality. Furthermore, Mme Bodin stated that 8 colleagues were on leave and didn't get fired:

    - they gave notices at least 1day in advance ( behavior shows attitude is different, employer might take this as indicator of whether their performance is likely to improve ) - they might have taken leaves on different days than Mme Bodin, both parties can argue on this point if advantageous - if they are Mme Bodin's colleagues from the "section", we can reasonably assume they are foreign nationals or a high percentage of them is foreign nationals, hence NHK can argue it's NOT discrimination against foreign nationals

    As much as we have sympathy for aliens, the court of justice will make decisions according to law. So is true that NHK has every reason to dismiss an employee unfit to be a "journalist", NHK had to seek evidence according to contract and labour law. We can always make press though, welcome to the Club!

  • 0

    Serrano

    I don't get it. She says she cleared the trip with her superiors, and she was planning to come back in 2 weeks. This doesn't constitute "abandoning your job."

  • 5

    Fadamor

    Being advised to leave Japan by the French Embassy does not guarantee your job is "safe". NHK does not work for the French Embassy. The translator probably made available her permanent replacement by providing NHK with an alternate translator who did just as good a job as she did, AND stayed in-country. Think about it, who would you want working for you - the employee who flees the country when danger is imminent or the employee who sticks around in the face of danger? The simple fact is that her "substitute" was more reliable to the company than she was. I predict she will lose the lawsuit because they will just point out that basic fact.

  • 0

    malfupete

    if I took a two week vacation from my company and was fired before coming back, I'd be pretty angry too

  • 1

    basroil

    SerranoJan. 16, 2013 - 10:35PM JST

    I don't get it. She says she cleared the trip with her superiors, and she was planning to come back in 2 weeks.

    If you're so certain of that, try it with your employer tomorrow. You can get back to us around 5pm when your pink slip is sent.

  • 0

    Serrano

    Now that I think about it, it's hard to believe she cleared this trip with her superiors. How many people in Japan working for Japanese companies get 2 weeks off from work? Nobody I know...

  • 0

    Serrano

    basroil - Yer right, of course! I wouldn't even try it, I know I'd never get 2 weeks, even if a parent in the home country on the other side of the planet died.

  • 5

    Balefire

    @Serrano I could get two weeks--or more--off from my erstwhile Japanese employer, with no particular problem. However, it required advance planning and of course sufficient notice to minimize impact on schedules and, if necessary, arrange for temporary replacement. "Sufficient", in my case, was usually a couple of weeks. I'd choose times when my absence would have the minimum impact.

    If I'd given only a day's notice, much less a couple of hours, I would have been told not to come back, most likely. On the other hand, If there was a family emergency or the like, as happened a couple of times, they were very supportive and the usual notice norms weren't enforced, or probably even considered. The company and I did not part on good terms, in the end, but to be fair, overall--with few exceptions over a long period-- I was treated quite well and very justly until quite near the end of my career.

    Nevertheless, I stand by what I said to hkitagawa above. "Get it in writing" is good advice. So is "give it in writing", as in notices/requests for leave.

  • 1

    michikokada

    1. Monsieur French-fries, oui, c'est très claire, "il est recommandé" donc c'est pas obligatoire. And there is "if you wish so" right there and then, because the logical explanation follows-suit of " it is recommended", is EXACTLY "if you wish so" then...unless your French logic is somehow different? 2.Nothing is wrong with thinking / taking care of family, but it is not the point of argument, nor will this win Mme Bodin the case. She can send her daughters back to France, I'm sure AF has UM programs on that route. And choose to stay at her job to perform as a qualified journalist. Or she made her choice to leave her post when the company most needed her - how many 8magnitudes hit Japan and induced Nuclear reactor accident? Same liberty shall equally apply to NHK: they evaluate employees' performance, by their performance basically, and what better occasion than a big news of the year/decade to a broadcaster? 3. Employers ( not only Japanese ones, also French ones) will take that 50yr old Chinese "girl" ( c'est une dame là, Monsieur, you can be sarcastic but be respectful, un peu?) over 55yr old French Madame Bodin any time. Attitude dictates performance, for a long term, that's what NHK lawyer can count on : )
  • 5

    michikokada

    Agree with Balefire, that's called professional practice and "normally" expected around the world.

  • 1

    cracaphat

    In short,she got NO chance of winning.Where she filing? In The Hague? She bailed by choice and got the flick.Sad for her,but what if the usual suspects of the international media had said after 2 weeks,it was worse than when she left? Would she have come back then? Hell no and she woulda been saying sacre bleu glad I left.Ya can't cherry pick when it's convenient for you and expect to get the same love when ish is back to normal.

  • 2

    Elbuda Mexicano

    She was in Japan working for NHK for 20, cool! So she is French, wow! She is still a GAIJIN, at the end of the day, a gaijin working for a JAPANESE company, if this did not make here little head ring a few warning bells?? Sorry lady, too stupid or too arrogant to understand that NHK would kick her little butt right out of JAPAN for escaping when JAPAN needed ALL the help it could get. But, How many JAPANESE would stick around PARIS if say, a nuclear reactor exploded there in France??

  • -1

    Crazedinjapan

    If her superiors cleared it and she has record of it the NHK should settle with her. From what the story says she's worked for them for approx 20 years ?? It's quite obvious from that they appreciated her work ethics . Perhaps they chose to use that opportunity to avoid paying a pension

  • 8

    Cos

    OK, she had a weekly show, (French language class), scheduled on the radio on the 15th and instead of showing up, she called (from the airport ?) 3 hours before the broadcasting of the show, which was probably the time when she was expected to arrive at work. It's clear, she planned her departure at least 1 to 3 days before, that's not like having a sudden illness or accident on the same day. Good luck to recuperate some kind of termination money in the name of her long career, but I doubt that NHK loses the case.

    This doesn't constitute "abandoning your job."

    Try doing that for any teaching stint. Call at the time the students are arriving in the class and say "My coworker X. is there, he's willing to replace me today.".

  • 2

    Al Stewart

    It sucks but she probably won't win. It's the same thing I told a lot of Americans. It was not a mandatory evac. It was advised or recommended. As the US Gov put it: Voluntary Evacuation. So it was her choice to leave.

    Hopefully she has documentation from NHK stating that they would hold her place. That would be her only saving grace. If it's only a word of mouth agreement, she is up a creek.

  • 0

    AkariYoshida

    I would ask more of why she was fired. If it was just because she left then she shouldn't have been fired, but I also don't know the contract unto which she signed under

  • 1

    blendover

    Since other people were allowed back, it follows that for whatever reason NHK wanted rid of her anyway. Whether those reasons were valid or not, who knows?

    There are two possibilities re the legal case: either the lawyers on her side have a real case to make in respect of the illegality of the firing, as they claim, or they are just trying it on in the hope of embarassing NHK.

    I suspect the latter is the case, and if that is so, it won't work for her monetarily - assuming money is her real objective as opposed to making waves as a form of vengeance. I feel a little sympathetic to her, given that she has kids. However, that sympathy is more than a little reduced by the fact that there is no obvious reason why she could not give longer notice than 3 hours (ie about one hour before she left for the airport) or why she couldn't have held off to complete the upcoming show before leaving.

    All this talk about getting clearance is nonsense. She was waving the ticket under their noses and had no intention of staying. Whoever talked to her was polite at the time, but anything they said would not have been an official position given the haste involved.

  • 4

    cleo

    Perhaps they chose to use that opportunity to avoid paying a pension

    Never heard of anyone on an annual contract having a company pension.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    Never heard of anyone on an annual contract having a company pension.

    Pension as in Social Welfare Insurance, which contracted employees also pay into along with their employer.

    However, the taishokin, or money paid when one retires, it all depends upon one's contract.

  • -4

    HonestDictator

    I hope her "replacement" is a slacker, and does 0.1% of the productivity she did.

  • -4

    French_fries

    Michikokada: you may ignite the polemic as long as you wish logic is family comes first. People post that for Japanese company it is not the case, that is a lie, my personal experience is a good counter example, even my managers tells me so: family comes first, you have only one family, and there are millions of companies, nough said.it is absurd to try to make the Japanese look like cold hearted people whereas they are not. Here is for my French logic, that is the logic for any sensed human being who has a family. And for that part Bodin has a legitimate point. Any sensed human being can understand this.

  • -11

    tmarie

    So based on some of your comments, we all need to get written permission when we take holiday leave? I can't believe from of you are siding with the NHK on this one.

    I can tell you that if my embassy told me to leave, I'd be out. No way do I trust the Japanese "everything is fine" crap they feed their public.

  • 7

    nigelboy

    So based on some of your comments, we all need to get written permission when we take holiday leave? I can't believe from of you are siding with the NHK on this one.

    Probably best to discuss your HOLIDAY LEAVE schedule at least a month in advance to your boss as opposed to 3 hours, me thinks. I think this concept is UNIVERSAL to most developed countries.

  • 3

    cleo

    Pension as in Social Welfare Insurance, which contracted employees also pay into along with their employer.

    However, the taishokin, or money paid when one retires, it all depends upon one's contract.

    What's 'Social Welfare' pension? If you mean the kokumin nenkin, NHK has no say in who does or does not qualify for that, NHK pays no part of the premium, nor is it any skin off their noses whether she gets paid a pension from it or not.

    And taishokukin? On an annual contract? Doesn't happen. Heck, these days it's starting to not happen for seishain with decades of service.

    She might have been eligible for severance pay in lieu of notice, if her leaving was solely due to NHK convenience; as it is, it appears she up and left at a few hours' notice, leaving them holding the baby.

    we all need to get written permission when we take holiday leave?

    No, just don't leave it until you're literally on the tarmac to tell anyone you won't be in for a while.

    I can tell you that if my embassy told me to leave, I'd be out.

    No one 'told her to leave'. The French embassy recommended people leave Tokyo and areas north. That's not an order. If you choose what you see as your personal safety over your job, fine - that's the choice you make. But don't whine afterwards about your seat not being kept warm for you.

  • 4

    cierzo98

    Did the French Government really 'issue an evacuation order' ? I doubt it. I'm sure it was in line with most other countries' foreign offices - they would have advised their nationals to consider leaving, or advised them to leave unless they had essential reasons for remaining. Such advice was issued with varying degrees of strength and seriousness, but I don't think it possible to order your citizens out of another country on the grounds of a natural disaster. The French did seem to get more of a 'run now' style of advice than the Americans and British, but in the form of recommendation rather than an order.

  • -7

    tmarie

    Probably best to discuss your HOLIDAY LEAVE schedule at least a month in advance to your boss as opposed to 3 hours, me thinks. I think this concept is UNIVERSAL to most developed countries.

    Yes, I'm sure when parents die and the like they give you a months notice for their funerals and the like. Come on folks, this was a major disaster. It isn't like this women just decided to go to Hawaii and enjoy a vacation. Family before work or have some of you adopted the "Japanese way" on this?

  • 2

    Yubaru

    And taishokukin? On an annual contract? Doesn't happen. Heck, these days it's starting to not happen for seishain with decades of service

    Yes it happens for some, not typical, but it's not black and white, and it depends or not if it is written into the contract and if in fact it is a yearly contract or not. People are assuming that she had a yearly contract, there are other types of contracts as well.

    What's 'Social Welfare' pension? If you mean the kokumin nenkin, NHK has no say in who does or does not qualify for that, NHK pays no part of the premium, nor is it any skin off their noses whether she gets paid a pension from it or not.

    If you've been here long enough you will know that beyond kokumin nenkin their is kosei nenkin which is a joint payment between an employer and employee, and typically pays out more than kokumin nenkin as well. There are other unions and groups as well that are similar to shakai hoken too.

  • -3

    tmarie

    Cleo, hate to disagree with you there but I worked on one year contracts at a private school here and was enrolled in their pension system and when I did leave, I was given a parting bonus. Same when I worked at an international company. Enrolled in their pension scheme - though sadly, no bonus when I finally left. One year contracts all the way through.

  • 0

    sfjp330

    Don't believe in everything that you read. She might be setting up and pressuring NHK with bogus claims so that she can try to get as much money as possible. Does she have documents that verify all of the claims that she saids? Maybe NHK does not want to get blackmailed and refused a settlement. There is always two sides to story. Maybe she had extensive conflict with the management. She knew Tokyo was safe and didn't need to leave the country.

  • 4

    Yubaru

    You know any company that I worked at would have a fit if I decided to bring in a replacement for a position that I was hired for in the first place. It's up to the companies discretion to hire and fire people and not typically some contracted employee's whim to decide who is to replace them for what ever reason.

    Hence my earlier comments as well about another side to the story.

    How many companies does anyone know that will allow someone who is a contracted employee to dictate who their replacement is or should be? Think about that.

    What's worse is that it appears, if I have read everyone's posts here correctly, that the replacement person that she got to take her job came from within NHK itself as well. What position was she in that she could order or even tell another employee to take her responsibilities as well? Did anyone ever consider that when commenting here in support of her "claims"?

    If you are an employer would you allow a contracted employee to dictate to you how you use your staff? In effect that is what she did with NHK.

  • -6

    tmarie

    ** She knew Tokyo was safe and didn't need to leave the country.**

    Is that a joke? No one knew if Tokyo was safe or not and judging by the number of Japanese that also fled it seems many also didn't believe the Japanese government. Add in the hoarding of clothes, water....

    Yubaru, I know that schools are often more than happy to have a teacher find a replacement if only for a few days or a week or two.

  • 5

    cleo

    Yes, I'm sure when parents die and the like they give you a months notice for their funerals

    Was she running off to attend a funeral? No. Different situation.

    People are assuming that she had a yearly contract

    Japan Times states that she was on a yearly contract.

    their is kosei nenkin which is a joint payment between an employer and employee, and typically pays out more than kokumin nenkin as well.

    Kosei nenkin is a public pension - like the kokumin nenkin, it makes no difference to NHK whether she gets the pension or not.

    tmarie - I have also worked one-year teaching contracts that had me enrolled in the public pension scheme. Again, they're following the law; the school isn't going to be paying any part of the pension (though they may pay half the premium). There was also a 'parting bonus' that was basically the cost of a ticket home, since most teachers were expected to leave Japan at the end of their teaching stint. I didn't, and neither, apparently, did you. :-) I also used to help our local BoE 'care for' their ALTs; they also got a 'going home' (=plane ticket) bonus at the end of their stint, but one lad who decided he wasn't up for it and upped and left mid-term, got nothing.

  • 3

    FightingViking

    There could be another reason for her deciding to leave. According to the article, she left with her two daughters... Whatever the age of her daughters, she could have been afraid of them eventually giving birth to "defective" babies (whether right or wrong, it could be HER way of thinking). She had also given a date for her return. The article doesn't mention if her daughters came back with her.

    On a related subject : Having been "wrongly" dismissed from a language school, after only half a year of working there, I received - thanks to my Japanese lawyer - a whole year's salary as compensation. On the other hand, after 8 years teaching at a prestigious Japanese company, I was bluntly told one day that they could no longer pay for my services...

  • 3

    Yubaru

    Kosei nenkin is a public pension - like the kokumin nenkin,

    Read the initial posts in reply. BTW Kosei nenkin is not public in the sense that anyone can join the scheme.

  • -6

    French_fries

    Some people see in this forum a tribune to justify how good employees they were, despite lacking valid reasons to take refuge from the radiation leak compared to those who had more to care than their post. Hiding behind procedure or how to get normally a day off is simple trolling. How many died in Tokyo on 3/11, it has come down to this level...thought about radiation? still believe that all is good in the best world? if youblive in Tokyo checj out the radioactivity of your urine and nails - laboratories are aviailable - and come back to share the results and think again, you will be surprised of the covktail. My last comment here will be this: staying in their company while other people fled - foreigners and Japanese- gave an extraordinary occasion to people in lack of recognition or suffering of the syndrome " becoming more Japanese than Japanese" to exult and show how better they are compared to these "traitors". There is no doubt about the fact that some tried to take advantage in the hope to get a promotion in their career. I would say that if ever a company says job matters more than safety of children then leave the company, who would want to work for such company anyway?

  • 3

    Yubaru

    Hey FF, did you notice that it was only the French woman that was fired? The other people that flew were rehired.

    That alone should say that there is more to this story than meets the eye.

  • -4

    gogogo

    She was punished by NHK, it's what Japan does.

  • 3

    nigelboy

    Yes, I'm sure when parents die and the like they give you a months notice for their funerals and the like. Come on folks, this was a major disaster. It isn't like this women just decided to go to Hawaii and enjoy a vacation. Family before work or have some of you adopted the "Japanese way" on this?

    First you state "holiday leave" and now a funeral? I just wish you stop changing goal posts, tmarie.

    And yes. It was a major disaster. But a disaster that happened 220km away.

  • 3

    michikokada

    French_fries, don't shift the focus to build your case here. The report and the comments are about whether Bodin has legal grounds. If the court of justice actually runs on emotion then NHK will win for sure, no need further discussion: you know why? Japan is home, for better for worse. Bodin is a foreigner ( mind you, in legal terms en anglais/eigo, it's called "alien"), she can abandon ship, abandon job, abandon Japan as she pleases but should she choose to return to Japan AND build a case, NOT press only, then she will have to obey Japanese law. Nobody said Japanese are cold-hearted, you raised the statement. If we disregard the legal side of it all, which is impossible as we are discussing a law suit here, family holds the core value of Japanese culture, I don't think we need French to lecture us on that. AND since we are sensible ( note: not "sensed" ) people, we rather concentrate on the point of "3.5hrs of notice"- this is the "legitimate point" we are discussing. Found your French logic confusing from the very beginning. you can misinterpret the French embassy mail ( partially ) to suit the argument which you failed to build because they weren't logical; but in court, evidence and legal reasonings apply, it has to make sense, not sensibility.

  • 0

    FPSRussia

    115 posts and not one person has considered the most obvious reason for her dismissal by NHK.

    What was her salary? Was it higher than her replacement? Was it above average per hour?

    Since when has it not come down to someone's bottom line? 20 years + salary increases and bonuses.

    Simple business. However they need to tarnish her so the topic of salary never comes into play. Companies are literally required to take anyone who will do the same job for a cheaper salary.

    No one seems to have considered this.

  • 4

    cleo

    Yubaru - I'm not sure what your point is. I was trying to reply to CrazedinJapan's suggestion that NHK fired her to avoid paying her a pension. If it's a public pension it comes out of the public purse, not NHK coffers.

    they need to tarnish her

    So far we've heard nothing from NHK. They aren't tarnishing anyone as far as I can see.

  • 5

    nigelboy

    Since when has it not come down to someone's bottom line? 20 years + salary increases and bonuses.

    Assuming that the plaintiff did get annual salary increases(which I doubt since it was an yearly employment contract) and if it's a matter of simple business as you say, why not just dismiss her by nit offering her a renewal contract at let's say....year 10!!

  • -8

    French_fries

    Michikokada: getting more aggressive aren't you did I hit a sensitive point here? Only truth hurts. "We" ? who is We? We means you are the one working on the case or are you simulating your own trial where you'd be the judge?. "We" do not need French to lecture us. Waking up an anti French feeling, so there you are. I haven't insulted you in any of my post but you are. Leaving you with your wondrous ego here and wishing him to find the utter satisfaction it desperately seeks!

  • -10

    tmarie

    Cleo, a lot of assumptions about my work in your last post. I was not referring to a job you and I have both done. For five I was on private pension plans offered by my employers,not kokumin nenkin. You are wrong about people not being put on company pension on yearly contracts. We have no idea what this woman's contract was do perhaps some could stop speculating?

    Funerals vs disasters. Good grief you people. It sounds like she was wrong terminated and you're arguing and defending a company well known for lying and screwing people out of money.

  • 4

    cleo

    tmarie, I made no assumptions at all about your work (apart from the pretty obvious assumption that you're still here) - I simply described my own experiences working yearly contracts with a pension.

    Funerals vs disasters. Good grief you people. It sounds like she was wrong terminated

    The disaster happened over 200km away and millions of people saw no need to drop everything and run. It sounds like there was nothing wrong in her being terminated. She basically just upped and left. That is not the same as time off to attend a funeral, not the same as sick leave, not the same as mat leave. And as others have pointed out, it isn't her place to tell NHK who can and cannot take responsibility for their programmes.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    .

    I was trying to reply to CrazedinJapan's suggestion that NHK fired her to avoid paying her a pension. If it's a public pension it comes out of the public purse, not NHK coffers

    And I am telling you that it's not a public pension and that NHK pays into it as well and they are paying a portion of her pension payments.

    NHK employees do not pay kokumin nenkin, they pay kosei nenkin.

  • -11

    ka_chan

    Most of you are just mean. I hope she wins. Sound more like age discrimination but that legal in Japan, isn't it. What the French governemt should do is expel all non-French NHK employees from France to be fair.

  • 0

    basroil

    YubaruJan. 17, 2013 - 01:16PM JST

    Actually there is a guideline set up for dealing with deaths in the family. For "ishinto", 一親等,いっしんと, which is either parent or child, 7 days of mourning leave, not accountable as annual leave, are typically authorized. The number of days leave changes as the "distance" of relationship change.

    I was assuming a more distant relative where normal courtesies don't apply, but yes, you're right on your assumptions. Usually (unless immediate family) you don't ask for leave day of though, which was the point I was trying to make.

  • -9

    tmarie

    Had she not found a cover for her work NHK would've been crying about it. As it was, she got them a cover, gave a return date and nothing was harmed. Much like when folks leave all of a sudden for other emergencies - like the ones I've mentioned. It isn't like she walked out without notice and reappeared weeks later asking for her job back.

    The courts will decide but as we all can probably agree on, the courts in Japan usually sure with the big and powerful. More so when up against a foreigner.

  • 1

    jaseinspace1

    She obviously believed that she had better standing with the company than she actually did. It sounds as if this was simply a convenient excuse to let her go. I feel for her, but she probably needs to just let go and move on.

  • 1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    So even if NHK does give her her old job back does she really think the Japanese staff really wants to see her again at NHK??

  • -11

    tmarie

    Jas, I'm curious. Would you tell a man with a family to support to just let go and move on if he lost his job?

  • 3

    basroil

    tmarieJan. 17, 2013 - 01:43PM JST

    Had she not found a cover for her work NHK would've been crying about it. As it was, she got them a cover, gave a return date and nothing was harmed

    She didn't "find" a replacement, she told a co-worker to cover her shifts, which means NHK found a cover, not her.

    And I have asked others, why not try this with your own job and see how you fare? You, like her, would have no legitimate reason to skip work for two weeks, and will probably be fired the same day. It is not a matter of how much a person has to support their family, rather how much or little right he has to complain about his decision not to work. In france, with the stupid laws they have there, anyone has the right to be a burden on a company, but in Japan, they only have the right to not be asked to excel in their job. In her case, she didn't even do her job, let alone do just enough.

  • -5

    GW

    While clearly we'd all want more info on all this I am surprised so many hedge their bets in nhk's favour. Anyone who has lived here a while would soon notice courts can wildly interpret Japanese "laws" to put it bluntly the law in Japan is as clear as mud, the govt can have courts rule pretty much as they please & even if they lose can appeal until they prevail the vast majority of the time. This plays out the same with employee ve employer situations, the little guy/gal is pretty much toast from the get go!

    I am hoping nhk is in the wrong & their is evidence to prove at it seems this poor woman during an extremely trying time(do any of you even remember what it was like, sounds like most have forgotten!) is being shafted, someone who has worked 2decades certainly derseves more consideration than she received, EVEN if she was in the wrong, firing is too heavy handed considering 3/11.

    I mean heck if these nhk backing posts keep up I am afraid we will start seeing similar in regards to tepco...........

    All of you who work for J-companies need to really see how this could be ANY of you someday for whatever reason simply being tossed under a bus, best take notice!

  • -7

    tmarie

    I don't think she should keep her job "because" she has family. I asked if the poster would say the same thing to a man. Huge difference.

    If my embassy suggested I leave, I would. I would also try and clear it with my employer. If they said yes, no worries I most certainly would be contacting a lawyer if I was fired.

    If I asked a coworker to cover shifts and they agreed, my company certainly doesn't get the credit for me finding a replacement. And a burden? For asking for time off and being given it?! As I said, if she had just left, I would 100% agree with you but this doesn't seem to be what happened here.

    El, your line of thinking is exactly why many mothers don't fight for their rights when it comes to childcare/mat leave. What a coworker thinks of someone taking time off shouldn't dictate hiring, firing or professionalism at work.

    So if your embassies all requested you to leave, you'd stay for the same of your job?! Priorities people. You're health and family are much more important IMO at least.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    I was assuming a more distant relative where normal courtesies don't apply, but yes, you're right on your assumptions. Usually (unless immediate family) you don't ask for leave day of though, which was the point I was trying to make.

    I assumed nothing, and even beyond immediate family there is something called the sanshinto which covers for up to one day of mourning leave. And it is quite common for people to ask, and receive it as well.

  • 3

    Yubaru

    Had she not found a cover for her work NHK would've been crying about it. As it was, she got them a cover, gave a return date and nothing was harmed. Much like when folks leave all of a sudden for other emergencies - like the ones I've mentioned. It isn't like she walked out without notice and reappeared weeks later asking for her job back. he courts will decide but as we all can probably agree on, the courts in Japan usually sure with the big and powerful. More so when up against a foreigner.

    Foreigner or otherwise she doesn't really stand a chance, not at least based upon the information put out here so far.

    You may want to take the view of the embattled foreigner, but what case does she really have? The French Gov? Come on that alone is silliness at best. Her graciously finding a replacement? WTF? Who did they hire in the first place and 20 times previously? Not the replacement, they wanted her for her job. She had a lot of nerve assuming that a replacement of her choosing would be justified. Should I go on?

    Also did you notice the other folks who flew were all rehired. Which says something about her and her situation and to me at least, makes her termination lawsuit sound fishy at best in what motivated it.

    There HAS to be more to this than whatever is being reported anywhere so far. NHK has a side too.

  • -1

    Nessie

    The disaster happened over 200km away and millions of people saw no need to drop everything and run

    And thousands of other people did see a need, including employers. My girlfriend's company told the workers not to go to the office.

  • -1

    Nessie

    *Japanese affiliate of a US company.

  • 0

    FightingViking

    @Yubaru

    > Should I go on?

    No, please don't bother. We each have our own opinions on the subject but I don't think painting her "wrong" when we don't really know the whole story, is a "wrong" too.

    I usually agree with you, but not this time.

  • 2

    Heda_Madness

    Does anyone know what time she was due at work? Or where she was when she made the call to work?

    Also, I didn't know that you could buy same day international flights in Japan.

    Finally, I still haven't found out why it's taken her nearly 2 years to decide she deserves 20 plus million yen.

  • -12

    tmarie

    Yubaru, hope asking if the others that left are Japanese or foreigners? How about taking a look at how many Japanese fled and how many we're fired for doing so? How about looking at the numbers if Japanese working for NGK for 20 years who are in yearly contracts...

    And yes, those who weren't fired, why not? Did they find replacements?!

  • 2

    Heda_Madness

    How about looking at the warning they gave. You seem to think that 3.5 hours is sufficient, you also don't seem to understand why you're in the minority.

  • 5

    cleo

    thousands of other people did see a need, including employers. My girlfriend's company told the workers not to go to the office.

    Obviously it depends on the company. Some companies, with an iffy power supply and dodgy transport system, would have no need of some staff - having them fight their way in to work and then be unable to get home again, when work was at a standstill anyway, would not be a good idea. A national broadcasting outfit needs to be able to rely on its staff in an emergency like 3/11 and its aftermath. There is no indication that NHK, which requires its staff to live in walking distance of the hosokyoku so that they can get in to work in a matter of minutes even when the transport system is down, told her not to come in. Therein lies the difference.

  • 3

    basroil

    tmarieJan. 17, 2013 - 05:00PM JST

    And yes, those who weren't fired, why not? Did they find replacements?!

    NHK didn't state, because it was irrelevant to the reason to fire her over the others. The others asked their bosses at least a day before they left, so very likely they got the boss's stamp on the piece of paper that said they were free to take their vacation early. She called from the airport (not to be taken as fact, though very likely exactly that) without even talking to her superiors in person, and just 3.5 hours before her broadcast started (which means after her shift already started). That in itself is enough to differentiate between those who care about their job but wished to follow the suggestions given by the embassies, and those who wanted an excuse to skip work.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    No, please don't bother. We each have our own opinions on the subject but I don't think painting her "wrong" when we don't really know the whole story, is a "wrong" too.I usually agree with you, but not this time.

    I agree and have made a few comments as well that we don't know the whole story, particularly NHK's side and she is the one trying the case in the media, and JT has a common habit of not following up on stories too, so we may never find out what happens here in the end.

  • 3

    Blair Herron

    Does anyone know what time she was due at work?

    She said she called at 11:00 and the broadcast started at 2:30.

    According to her lawyer, NHK claimed that they did not say they approved her leaving.

    You can watch the press conference ↓

    http://iwj.co.jp/wj/open/archives/53478#more-53478

  • 2

    Yubaru

    I watched the press conference and it leaves more questions in my mind about NHK's actions regarding her being fired. Maybe she was guilty of some minor procedural errors or miscommunication, but nothing from her press conference makes me believe that she did anything wrong and she comes across as being sincere as well.

  • 0

    FightingViking

    @Yubaru

    I shall endeavour to watch it too, but just wanted to thank you first for "seeing more my way"...

  • 0

    basroil

    Blair HerronJan. 17, 2013 - 08:00PM JST

    You can watch the press conference ↓

    http://iwj.co.jp/wj/open/archives/53478#more-53478

    Sadly they edited the hell out of it and put it on youtube, there's basically no information left in there. Also doesn't help that their web developer is an idiot for supporting only trident, gecko doesn't work at all even if the thing looks like a cheap wordpress page! (no clue if webkit works)

    She said she called at 11:00 and the broadcast started at 2:30.

    According to her lawyer, NHK claimed that they did not say they approved her leaving.

    I'll have to take your word on that since the link no longer shows the actual press conference, but if that's true, it's quite a few strikes against her. Especially since that would put her squarely in the airport when calling, since Air France 275 is the last plane out of Narita and that's at 12:45 (JAL plane is 11:05, so probably not that one, though ANA has one at 11:50). You'de figure she had at least some time to call on the trip to the airport or earlier in the day if she actually gave two hoots about her job.

  • 0

    Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa

    At the end of the day, I would feel saddened for the part of being dismissed from work unfairly. But then again, I don't think I will go to all that trouble suing a company NHK versus a foreigner...I will have to have all the energy and money to pay for the best lawyers if I want too, but which I have none..so I feel sorry for Mmd. Bodin...she will definitely lose the case!

  • 0

    hidingout

    Why would anyone who was scared enough to flee the country want to return? Japan has more earthquakes per square km than any other country on the planet. Given that most people on this site seem to take a dim view of the way Japanese handle serious crises, and given that its just a matter of time until another serious earthquake strikes Japan, why live here at all?

  • 1

    RealJapan

    She worked for NHK for 20 years and seems to have left during 3/11 based on the embassy advisory and for the safety of her daughters. According to the article she cleared leaving with her superiors first and then found a substitute prior to taking a leave of absence. After working for NHK for 20 years you would think they would support their employees better. Regardless of her being called a "flyjin" on some discussion threads, there were many foreigners who stayed, volunteered, collected donations, and was willing to put their own safety first in order to help people in need or rescue people during the disaster. However, I do not recall the Japanese government or Japanese companies officially honoring any individual foreigners for their support during 3/11. If I am mistaken please feel free to direct me to a link where the information is posted. To top it off TEPCO never sincerely or formally apologized to anyone individually in Tokyo to my knowledge. Yet, they surely increased their fees on everyone. Instead of the Japanese and foreign community bonding together after 3/11 especially for people who stayed Tokyo for the most part has become more separated. Sad really - not to mention people still effected by 3/11 are still suffering.

  • 4

    Daijoboots

    NHK have been quoted as saying that Bodin told them "NHK ni wa koraremasen. Jyokyo wa owakari desho."

    So here's a little bit of attitude right back at ya, dated March 22.

  • 3

    Daijoboots

    According to the article she cleared leaving with her superiors first

    According to Bodin she "cleared leaving" with her superiors. Doesn't look like NHK took it that way.

    The eight others who left Japan weren't fired.

  • 0

    Barbara Reder

    i know many foreigners have left japan during the tragic period and i know the French government was the only country ordering their citizen to evacuate.. i remember it was mandatory. for her to sue the nhk is wrong. i bet she did not communicate properly and most likely her boss and coworkers did not like her.. i heard many japanese people feelings were hurt when their foreign coworkers escaped the country and they could not.. anywya there is more to this story than the eyes meet.

  • 0

    michikokada

    Truth hurts, n'est ce pas, French_fries? Kindly see comments from Daijoboots just above. Please don't turn reasonable discussions into personal attacks and if you make a claim, you actually need evidence to support it, e.g. Bodin wants 20million yen from NHK, ie money collected from people in the country where she abandoned in time of crisis, it's only fair that Japanese or any sensible person question full evidence of the damages she claimed, otherwise no court shall award her that remedy. I didn't insult you but I'm afraid your French ego is a bit too fragile, excuse my French if you find this insulting : )

  • 1

    Yubaru

    One thing that was in the PC was a off hand comment that did pique my curiosity about NHK's knowledge about her leaving and not knowing about it.

    She was on a yearly contract, at one of the lawyers made a remark that she took a week off at the end of each contract to return to France for vacation.

  • 0

    Daijoboots

    off hand comment that did pique my curiosity about NHK's knowledge about her leaving and not knowing about it. She was on a yearly contract, at one of the lawyers made a remark that she took a week off at the end of each contract to return to France for vacation.

    Bodin has said that her contract was renewed in February....did she take a week off then as well?

    By the way no one is saying NHK did not know she was leaving the country. They found out a whole 3.5 hours before her shift.

  • 1

    michikokada

    Very interesting case, JT please follow up. The wording is key... NHK was certainly informed about her leave, however short the notice was; Bodin "cleared her trip" -that's approval from management, or not? Did she obtain a written approval afterwards, even an email? Or a recording of the phone conversation?

  • -1

    French_fries

    I perfectly understand. She failed to follow the process, she was wrong to prefer protecting the life of her children and hers rather than prioritize her colleagues and her job. Antagonize those who disagree with this strange logic - obviously for some it seems that calling others logic strange is not insulting - by pointing out the "cowardice facts" of this woman - and for some it seems that her being French is not a plus - makes me really wonder on their true intentions. Gather facts on that case, but only the "sensed" one not "sensitive" one? What kind of evidence screening is this? Justice only focus on "sensed" evidence not " sensitive" a great specialist appears to be saying here? Do these people have children? Well, this fruitless discussion has been quite instructing but I say now let us wait for the verdict shall we?

  • 4

    Heda_Madness

    She failed to follow the process, she was wrong to prefer protecting the life of her children and hers rather than prioritize her colleagues and her job.

    I don't think anyone is saying she was wrong for protecting her children, but I do think she was wrong for expecting to walk back into the job. She made a decision based on what she thought was best for her and her family. It was for want of a better word, selfish, but she cannot expect that everything would be the same when she came back. And three and a half hours notice, if true, clearly showed that her thoughts about her job came secondary and likewise you can't expect an employer to accept her back without any problems. Especially as she was on a contract.

  • 3

    cleo

    After working for NHK for 20 years you would think they would support their employees better.

    NHK point out that after working for NHK for 20 years, she knew full well the problems she would cause pulling out of her programme at such short notice.

    for some it seems that her being French is not a plus

    Why should her nationality be a plus?

    If Daijoboot's quote from NHK is correct, I'm surprised they waited till the 22nd to formally dismiss her.

  • 4

    Yubaru

    I forgot this this AM in my early post.......

    She left Japan as advised, but she didnt go to France either, I believe during the PC the lawyer commented that she went to Shanghai and called back here to NHK from there as well. It appears that there was contact between her and someone at NHK between the time she left and received her termination notice.

    The reason given to her for her termination seems to be a point in her favor in that she was recontracted for the upcoming fiscal year April 2013 to March 2014, which flies in the face of the reason that she was terminated in the first place;

    Her lawyers said provisions of the contract say NHK can terminate the deal if the employee's inadequate work performance has no prospect for improvement or if a situation occurs in which the firm has no choice but to end the contract. NHK told Bodin that its reasons for terminating her contract were based on these provisions.

    Bodin has said that her contract was renewed in February....did she take a week off then as well?

    That according to the PC was when she was notified that she would be recontracted. The actual contract would not take effect until the current one ended at the end of March. In the PC it sounded as if her scheduled annual vacation would take place sometime at the end of March.

    My uninformed opinion here;

    NHK knew she was taking vacation, as she did as always at the end of her contract, and got annoyed that she took it upon herself to take off early due to circumstances of the time.

    She was planning to return on the 30th, which I don't understand anyway as if she was leaving because of fear of radiation, why did she know it would be ok to return on the 30th, or when she would return anyway?

    Could it be that NHK figured she saw it as a chance or excuse to take a few extra days off at their expense? She evidently did not go back to France right away or if at all, that part wasn't made clear during the PC and no one asked any follow up questions about it. Who knows. But NHK's reasoning for her termination sounds pretty lame.

    One last thing, during the PC they commented she was suing for roughly a little over 22 million yen, and change. They actually gave a detailed amount. Then after some paper shuffling and comments between two lawyers a comment was made that sounded like the lawyers were saying she was only suing for 17 or 18 million yen. I wonder if the other 5 million is for lawyers fees which is why they are suing in the first place?

  • -6

    GW

    Its truly amazing how so many on this thread are backing nhk & using ONLY hindsight(great stuff aint it) to judge what happened.

    Let me jog some memories for those who seem to have forgotten. The earth was literally DANCING under our feet for many days after the initial disasters struck, radiation leaked, how much & where was more coming..................yeah we could only guess.

    In all that she made her decision & nhk fired her & many here agree........wtf. Who cares if she didnt do all the paperwork, who cares if her words were a bit poorly choosen, she found a replacement, said she planned to come back(probably only if it was safe but she CLEARLY said she wasnt just bailing!). Folks 3/11 WAS NOT a typical day.............

    And finally none of you score any brownie points from your J-friends or companies, just sayin

    And one more thing, given the 10s of thousands, likely more like 100s of thousands, how we are not hearing about a bunch of Japanese getting fired, SURELY in the chaos after 3/11 with many posters reasoning there shud at least be a few thousand Japanese who got axed for putting FAMILY, LIFE first......................but we aint reading about any of that because it likely didnt happen!

  • 0

    cleo

    NHK knew she was taking vacation, as she did as always at the end of her contract, and got annoyed that she took it upon herself to take off early

    As you'd expect them to.

    'Hi boss, It's Wednesday and I know you expect me to give a big presentation to some important clients today, but I've decided I'm not coming in. You'd got three and a half hours to find someone else. Should be enough time to find someone who matches my 20 years of expertise. I have the weekend off anyway, so it makes no difference, right? No time to argue with you, they're already calling my flight.'

  • 2

    taj

    GW, I agree that it was a sea-sickening, wobbly time, and I wouldn't presume to criticise anyone for thinking of their kids safefy before all else, but that's not the issue here.

    Why did she wait until her shift was starting and she was 3.5 hours to live broadcast, to let them know she wouldn't be in for two weeks? Her colleauges managed to give a day's notice. They didn't lose their positions.

    She did things differently and faced different consequences.

    I would want to know more details be fore judging, but I hope you understand that we're not all simply siding against her because she left.

  • 4

    cbgb64

    Like many of you, I was in Tokyo on the day the disaster happened. I work for a music college and am the head of education. If I had left because the US embassy was sending me emails warning me of a possible environmental disaster (and they were), I would not have my job today or at least would not be held in the same regard. Granted my daughter was in the states at the time but I made a level headed decision: do I risk possible radiation exposure or risk possible financial hardship? I chose the to stay. I knew I would be out of a job if I had split. Like her, I also spent 20 years working for the same company. If I was in her place, and I sort of was, I would have put my daughter on a plane back to France, and continued on in my job. I would have figured my previous 20 years were setting me up for the most important job yet, supplying valuable news and information during a disaster. She obviously considered her job and financial situation less important than the slight health risk at the time. I felt I would be doing a better service to both my employer and family by putting my 20 years or experience to work by continuing my job.

  • 6

    Cos

    I watched the video with the Anne Hathaway crying face... ahem.

    She was planning to return on the 30th,

    Well, the lawyer explained. And her employment contract finished the 31st, but the last weekly show... that makes 29th. She told to NHK the 30th, because on 30th she didn't need to go to the studio anyway. You get it ? She was not panicked and all as she says with tears in the eyes 2 years later, she was calculating. In detail : "I take unpaid leave... starting today, I don't do the shows on 15th, 22nd to 29th, I will officially work on 30th and 31st, which are days I don't work on NHK studio. So I will officially finish my contract on 31st and you NHK, you have the obligation to pay me the annual bonus of several million yen. Then, we'll sign a new contract starting when I come back. I'm a star of NHK, you need me... Daijobu ? -Zen zen daijoubu ! Bon voyage ! ". I guess they meant "Bon vent !" as we say in French "Good wind" like "May a good wind deliver us of your presence !". On the 22nd, NHK and their lawyer found they had all the legal documents proving she had not finished the contract. So they didn't need to pay a completion bonus. They wrote her that. Is it surprising that they never proposed her any new contract after this ?

    Who cares if she didnt do all the paperwork,

    She was hired to do all the paperwork, she didn't do them. NHK doesn't care, they just don't pay her anymore. I have seen thousands, really thousands of little people that got big troubles for neglecting one small formality, for one day late for a visa. And you can imagine the hell, having to leave a country or living without proper documents. Here it's just money. But even, I saw countless losing a bonus for being sick one day, as if they could avoid being sick. Thousands losing a full day of pay and a prime for being 5 minutes late. There were eikaiwa doing it to hundreds every single day, during 5 years, I had to apply the severe rule to my coworkers every morning, we had to take 15% out of their not-big salary for 5 minutes, because they has signed a contract saying that. People with kids too, often late due the kid having a little nothing on the way to kindergarten, losing 15%. So Madame Bodin is a celeb, she signed 20 times for a highly payed baito she was doing beside a day job (that she has not lost obviously). Petty rules don't apply to her ? She can just call from the airport, have her cake and eat it ?

    SURELY in the chaos after 3/11

    Particularly. So many victims. So her tears over her bonus...

  • 0

    basroil

    cleoJan. 18, 2013 - 09:06AM JST

    If Daijoboot's quote from NHK is correct, I'm surprised they waited till the 22nd to formally dismiss her.

    I would like to think that they tried to consider her position as much as they could, and basically gave her the week that she gets off a bit early.

    The main issue here is why she wasn't in contact with her boss from the 15th to the 22nd. You'de expect her to have been at least a bit concerned for her coworker's safety if she cared so much about her children, you know, maybe leave a few messages asking if they are alright and such. From the looks of it, she just took it as a free vacation and time to ignore work rather than a forced evacuation.

  • 1

    nigelboy

    And one more thing, given the 10s of thousands, likely more like 100s of thousands, how we are not hearing about a bunch of Japanese getting fired, SURELY in the chaos after 3/11 with many posters reasoning there shud at least be a few thousand Japanese who got axed for putting FAMILY, LIFE first......................but we aint reading about any of that because it likely didnt happen!

    GW

    Yep. ".but we aint reading about any of that because it likely didnt happen!" because it's a myth perpetuated by flyjin and their supporters with their "Japanese did it, too" when evidence suggests such mass exodus never took place among the Japanese in Tokyo. 29% decrease in Tokai Shinkansen passengers from March 11-28th 2011 compared to same period in 2010. 18% decrease in Japanese nationals flying overseas in March of 2011 compared to March of 2010. On the flip side, 311,876 foreign residents **left Japan during the post quake from 3/12/11~4/1/11 (20 day period) while only 171,996 foreign residents left Japan during the **entire month of March 2010.

  • 1

    Open Minded

    To be clear: there has been never any forced evacuation from any countries. But strong recommendation to leave Japan due to big radiations exposure threat. That was a sensible recommendation I followed with family and I am proud to have stood up to the Japanese attitude.

    Nigelboy: you can give any interpretation to numbers. How loaded were the trains and planes TO Tokyo/Japan between 3/11 and 4/11? I bet the balance is strongly negative.

  • 4

    nigelboy

    How loaded were the trains and planes TO Tokyo/Japan between 3/11 and 4/11? I bet the balance is strongly negative.

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/atmoney/news/20110330-OYT1T00015.htm

    It states that 33% reduction to Tokyo and 25% to Kudari (from Tokyo) with an average of 29%.  I would assume the same type of ratio for Haneda (domestic flights) as well. So the word "strongly" is not the case here.

  • 2

    Blair Herron

    Especially since that would put her squarely in the airport when calling, since Air France 275 is the last plane out of Narita and that's at 12:45 (JAL plane is 11:05, so probably not that one, though ANA has one at 11:50).

    At the press conference, the lawyer said she went to Singapore, not France.

  • 1

    Cassandra Cole

    There was no 'evacuation order', only an advisement. No evacuation advisement from Japan government. She knew the risk of leaving, and did so anyway.

    She should have just send her family away. Isn't your job more important than fleeing the country because something might have happened?

    And she shouldn't have left on such a short notice. It's proper to give at least a week in notice before you skip away on your little whim.

  • 5

    DudeDeuce

    If she was working for a broadcasting company, wouldn't a crisis such as a tsunami be an important time to stay and cover the events?

  • -1

    technosphere

    I know many cowards who ran away from Japan and lost their job when they came back. Coincidentally I was out of Japan when the earthquake happened but I came back to Japan and went to my office as per my promise.

    Good, that not all foreigners in Japan turned to be "flyjins" .....

  • 0

    Ah_so

    I don't get it. She says she cleared the trip with her superiors, and she was planning to come back in 2 weeks. This doesn't constitute "abandoning your job."

    Well, if she says she cleared it with her superiors, it must be true. She had clearly made up her mind (wisely) to leave Japan due to the threat to her and her children's health. She would not have stayed just because her employer told her not to. I suspect she informed

    "NHK claims it canceled her contract because she called and told NHK she couldn't come in to work in a unilateral manner and caused trouble for the company." (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20130116a6.html)

    So NHK disagree about it having been cleared. If it was cleared, there would be a hankoed document somewhere which she could produce. We all know perfectly well that you would not get clearance in Japan to exit the country on the basis of a telephone call alone. At the very least there would have been an email.

  • 0

    frontandcentre

    There was plenty of evidence that Tokyo was quite safe throughout the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. Guidance from the embassies was based on European fear of litigation and lack of information, not on common sense. The British Embassy got a comment from the Chief Scientific Officer and he said that unless the situation changed radically, Tokyo (and even most areas closer to Fukushima Daiichi) were quite safe. People who lived 200 km from Chernobyl, which exposed burning fuel rods to the atmosphere (a MUCH more serious incident than Fukushima), have seen no significant statistical impact on their health, so a contained incident at Fukushima was never likely to be a danger. People panicked - I saw it for myself, while I stuck around. I don't consider myself to have been brave to do so, I simply assessed the situation based on common sense and the information that was freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

    Ms. Bodin's dismissal is a separate matter. I imagine it hinges on whether she really did get approval or not. If she can prove that her hasty retreat was approved, then I agree that it's unfair for her to have been dismissed. I doubt that she has this evidence, hence the press conference, PR campaign etc. Personally, I think people have few grounds to complain if they choose to act in this way. She was happy to leave her colleagues to fry, but when they didn't it seems she wasn't prepared to accept the negative consequences of her own poor judgement.

  • -2

    TheInterstat

    ^Well, a woman I work(ed) with did just that, and came back to her job after a lengthy absence.

    She was let back in no problems, and arranged the whole thing over the phone.

    She has since left the company, but that was only recently, after they renewed her contract.

  • 0

    Open Minded

    frontandcenter: Sorry, but between 3/14 and 3/16, Japan was in a war situation with huge threat. Luckily the Tokyo firemen managed SFP4 within this time. In those time I got this info from a former GE employee that used to build Mark I NPP - who has voluntarily left with his little girls in the meantime. All the rest is propaganda.

  • 0

    Open Minded

    BTW: It seems the J-Foreign Office published recommendation not to go to France after the events in Algeria. I strongly believe the situation after 3/11 was far worst than transiting in Paris airport! Every country has its own safety standard for its citizen.

  • 1

    whiskeysour

    The lawsuit is frivolous and she's an idiot.....

    I don't understand her point of view. If you quit your job you quit your job...

  • 0

    megosaa

    i sympathize her but i think it's in the nhk right to dismiss her as they have found a replacement. it's a decision whether to take her back and fire the replacement who helped them in those critical times, or let the replacement stay on. think of it from the replacement's point of view, as well as the company's pov. would it be fair to fire the replacement?

  • 0

    Tom Thompson

    two words

    "bon voyage"

  • 1

    Martine Müller

    I sympathize with her.

  • 0

    Reckless

    In addition, although I stayed after 3/11 in Tokyo, I do NOT consider anyone who left as a coward. It was really common sense.

  • 0

    JA_Cruise

    That is not how standard labour law works in Japan, she was fired unlawfully and she has every right to sue NHK. She clearly says she had a substitue to fill in during her void and that her employee said it was okay. They cannot come to you later and say, actually you shouldn't have left and we consider this abandonment after the fact. Just because Tokyo was not affected in the end, doesn't make it right to say she made the wrong decision, no one knew exactly what the aftermath affects would be with such large scale damage. Being there 20 years should count for something, so according to my calculations, she can easily get a winfall of at least 1 year of salary if not more, or they hire her back.

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