Japan whistleblower sidelined despite court ruling

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An employee at Japanese medical equipment maker Olympus said Wednesdaythat his humiliating treatment has not changed despite a Supreme Courtruling that his demotion for whistleblowing was illegal.Masaharu Hamada said he is still isolated in the office and after lastmonth's court judgment is not given any work. His was the firstwhistleblower case to reach Japan's highest court.His lawyer Koichi Kozen said Hamada may have to file another lawsuit,complaining of human rights violations. Japan remains behind Westerncountries in penalizing companies that fail to abide by court rulings,and some fines are so small companies would rather pay up than abide,Kozen said."We would hope the company would respond quickly, but there has beenno response," Kozen said. "We want Mr. Hamada to get a new assignment,where he can be happy."Hamada, 51, an Olympus salesman with experience in the United States,first sued in 2008, alleging punishment for relaying a supplier'scomplaint.He is considered a whistleblower in Japan because he raised questionsabout colleagues' professional behavior and was subjected to bizarreand humiliating punishment, such as taking rudimentary tests.

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