A Japanese court has decided West Japan Railway Co. must pay back the 56 yen ($0.45) it took from the salary of one train driver after a delay of one minute in the year 2020.
Although the Okayama District Court ruled that the reduction in pay offered at JR West’s Okayama branch of JR West was unjustified, it rejected the man’s request for 2.2 million yen compensation for emotional stress.
The Presiding Judiciary Hisanori Okuno ruled that the time spent by the employee to correct mistakes that were made during the work handed to him by JR West still constituted “labor to perform tasks.”
The one-minute delay was part of the job and therefore was required to pay wages after the worker recognized his mistake and took steps quickly to correct the error, the court ruled.
In March, JR West revised the procedure about the errors that caused delays in trains that were deemed the employee’s fault and were not counted as work time; however, it claimed it had been contemplating the change even before the case was filed.
The company has said that it “sincerely is happy with the decision” and that it has no plans to appeal the decision.
In the case of the complainant, working in JR Okayama Station, western Japan, in June 2020, the employee was waiting at the wrong platform for an empty train, which he was assigned to move to the depot. This caused the work to finish two minutes behind.
JR West initially deducted 85 yen from the man’s salary for the delay of two minutes, saying he didn’t perform any work during the period. Still, they reduced the delay to one minute based on instructions from the Okayama Labor Standards Inspection Office.
The lawsuit was filed in March of 2021 against his employer, claiming a single minute of his time was a part of his work hours.
JR West had attempted to settle outside of court but failed.
According to a source, this man, who was 50 years old, was diagnosed with the disease earlier in the year and has already passed away.