A group of 25 female employees of Japan Airlines Co. applied Thursday for Labor Ministry arbitration alleging sexual discrimination over pay and promotions.
The women, flight attendants who began working for JAL between 1969 and 1975, said male flight attendants who do exactly the same job as their female counterparts are promoted faster and, thus, obtain higher wages.
Noriko Fukuhara, who joined JAL in 1973, said all male flight attendants who joined the carrier the same year are paid more than she is. The women, who submitted the petition to the Labor Ministry’s Women’s and Young Workers’ Offices, said they waited to make the move until Thursday, when the revised Equal Employment Opportunity Law took effect.
Although employers were allowed to refuse such mediation under the original law, the revised law now allows mediation at either party’s request.
JAL officials refrained from commenting on the petition, saying they have not read it yet. However, the officials said there has been no sexual discrimination regarding pay and promotions at the firm.
The revised Equal Employment Opportunity Law, which aims at enforcing equal treatment for men and women, also stipulates that company management is responsible for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. The law requires employers to advertise jobs equally to men and women and to desist from attaching conditions to the employment of women.
It is expected that a number of similar petitions will be submitted to the ministry amid mounting frustration among female corporate employees over their working conditions.