Toyota admits labour officials found it responsible for worker's suicide

19 November 2019 - 11:18 By Reuters
Japanese labour officials have found Toyota responsible for the suicide of an employee. A report said a supervisor had called the employee stupid, and said he'd be better off dead.
Japanese labour officials have found Toyota responsible for the suicide of an employee. A report said a supervisor had called the employee stupid, and said he'd be better off dead.
Image: Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Toyota on Tuesday said Japanese labour officials had found the company responsible for the suicide of an employee, with the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reporting that workplace bullying at the car maker had led to the employee's death.

The news comes as a shrinking workforce and changing values about work-life balance in Japan have meant companies are increasingly found responsible for workplace-related suicides.

Toyota labour standards officials had been investigating the 2017 suicide of a Toyota employee, a spokesperson at the company confirmed to Reuters.

"It's true the labour authority determined it was a workplace injury, but we cannot comment further as discussions between representatives are ongoing," the person said.

Mainichi Shimbun, which was the first to report the officials' conclusion, said the employee's supervisor had called him an "idiot" and said he was "better dead".

The worker committed suicide in a company dormitory at the age of 28, the newspaper reported. The worker's family plans to sue Toyota, Mainichi Shimbun reported.

Labour officials declined to confirm their decision to Reuters, saying they could not comment about individual cases.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing to improve workplace practices in favour of workers' rights, with issues such as parental leave increasingly in the spotlight.

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