Before instructors became embroiled in a fierce legal battle with Berlitz Japan, there was a time when the English language school chain's robust image made it a top choice among foreign job-seekers.

In particular, it was the company's good reputation over competing language chains that initially attracted Michael and Colette (not their real names) to apply for work at Berlitz.

"I had heard positive things about working there and thought it would be a place that would be good for my future," Michael says.