• Kyodo

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A Japan Airlines Co. flight attendant filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to nullify a company order to take a leave of absence after she became pregnant and requested ground duty in line with the company’s work system.

In the complaint, Tomoko Jinno, 40, said her case constitutes so-called maternity harassment and that her employer’s actions go against the equal employment opportunity law, which bans employers from treating workers unfavorably due to pregnancy or childbirth.

She also requested about ¥3.4 million ($27,500) in unpaid salary and damages because she was not paid during her period of absence. She delivered a baby in April and is now on maternity leave.

Jinno became pregnant and then applied for ground duty last August, as allowed by the company’s system. But JAL ordered her to stop working the following month, saying there was “no post” available at that time.

“I cannot make a living if I’m suddenly left with no pay,” Jinno told a news conference upon filing the lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court.

The company is also suspected of violating the Labor Standards Law, which dictates that employers must transfer a pregnant woman to light duty work if she has so requested, according to the complaint.

While declining to comment on the matter because the company has not yet read the complaint, a JAL official said: “We are trying to increase job opportunities as much as possible but it is difficult to respond to every wish.”

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