Discrimination against sexual minorities will now be considered a form of sexual harassment in Japan, according to the Labor ministry’s updated guidelines for employers.
Until now, sexual harassment rules in Japan neglected to protect LGBT people, but will now include sexual orientation and gender identity when they go into effect in January 2017.
The change follows a recent announcement from 30 Japanese companies, including Sony, Panasonic and IBM Japan, that declared plans to boost LGBT diversity and inclusivity at work, including recognition of same-sex partnerships and updated bathroom policies for transgender employees.
Gay people are currently prohibited from getting married or adopting children in Japan, and LGBT rights groups in the country are hoping that the new workplace guidelines go even farther to protect gay employees and improve rights in the country.
“Defining workplace discrimination against LGBT individuals as sexual harassment is too narrow, and would also lead to bias as any discrimination would be labeled ’sexual harassment,'” Fern Ngai, CEO of the Hong Kong-based Community Business, told Gay Star News.
Ngai added, “There should be a more comprehensive legal framework for the protection of sexual minorities, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including full anti-discrimination laws.”