Glen Wood, a 49-year-old Canadian single father, sued the firm Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. (MUMSS) for paternity harassment initiated in 2015 while claiming paternity leave. Wood has recently appeared in court in order to pursue his lawsuit against the firm and has its second hearing scheduled for October 9. Wood who worked as an equity sales manager at Mitsubishi filed a claim against the brokerage, of allegedly being a victim of harassment. The single parent even asked the Tokyo District Court to fire him after putting him on unpaid leave, to recognize his rights as a father.
According to the lawsuit, Glen Wood initially asked for a leave in 2015 when his son was born prematurely in October. However, the request was rejected on the grounds of 'there was no such precedent'. After Wood's son was born, the firm was forced to accept his legal right for the parental leave but even then, he was refused by the firm from returning to the job. Later, he was fired by Mitsubishi. The single parent reportedly even had to submit a DNA test to prove his relation to his son who was born in Nepal where his partner was working.
Through the years, this case has attained considerable attention, globally as well as in Japanese society where reportedly long stands the tradition of harassment of employees who were turning to parents. Glen Wood had also thanked all his supports after the case went viral and has started an online petition. Wood claims to have received hundreds of stories of abuse that the foreigners, as well as natives, suffer in Japan. According to the 49-year-old parent, the pervasiveness of this problem in corporate Japan highlights more than ever the importance of his particular case.
By law, Japan offers generous parental leave to both parents up to nearly a year. Moreover, the law even grants an additional renewable period of six months in case a nursery place is unavailable. However, reportedly, more than 80 per cent of mothers use their allowance beyond the mandatory eight weeks after the birth as opposed to only six per cent of fathers have taken parental leave. According to the activists, this disparity can be due to the pressure from employers in a work culture that praises long work hours.