• Kyodo

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Discriminatory acts by employers against sexual minorities will be regarded as sexual harassment under revised guidelines to be introduced next year, according to officials.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is planning to introduce the changes in January under the equal employment opportunity law after receiving proposals from a panel this summer, the officials said Thursday.

Current guidelines require companies to punish employees who sexually harass lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace. However, many LGBT people continue to endure discrimination without sufficient help from their employer, according to the ministry.

A draft of the revised guidelines says people can become a victim of sexual harassment “regardless of their sexual orientation and self-recognition of their sex.”

The draft also asks companies to better handle the counseling needs of pregnant women and mothers who suffer workplace harassment, as well as fathers who face harassment because they want to take child-rearing leave, the officials said.

Meanwhile, four opposition parties on Friday submitted a bill to the Diet designed to eliminate discrimination against sexual minorities.

The bill, written by the Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and Seikatsu no To (People’s Life Party) stipulates that the central government, municipalities and citizens bear responsibility for eliminating discrimination against LGBT people.

The bill would require government at all levels to compile basic plans to deter discrimination, and would prohibit the government and private companies from discriminating against sexual minorities.

It would demand that the government and companies abolish systems or practices that hamper LGBT people in their daily life and would forbid discriminatory treatment in employment.

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