In a rare admission of its responsibility, Japanese electronic giant Panasonic acknowledged its fault and apologized for the death of a former employee due to overwork.
This former worker, at the time a 43-year-old male hailed from Hiroshima Prefecture. His journey with Panasonic began back in the year 2003 where he started as merely a factory worker. In April of 2019 the employee was promoted to the position of deputy chief in the engineering department of the company and was subject to long working hours.
As per his attorney Tadashi Matsumaru the employee was working more than 100 hours per week, far beyond the typical 40 hours. The man was eventually depressed due to stress and, in October of 2019, he committed suicide after leaving a message to his family members, as reported on VICE World News.
In the letter of the man the employee wrote “Dad is exhausted. It’s just too many hours of work. I’m not willing to forget Panasonic. Tell my story to journalists.”
Panasonic finally admitted that the tragic death of the employee more than two years ago had been the result of overworking. They issued a statement that stated:
“In 2019, a tragic incident occurred at Panasonic Corporation, in which despite the fact an employee was overworked and worked long working hours, the company neglected its duty to care for his safety, thus resulting in the employee’s death.”
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the employee who lost his life and to his bereaved family,” the statement said.
Panasonic also laid out the steps it would take to avoid another incident like this one including one-on-one discussions between employees and managers. Panasonic also offered an undisclosed amount of money to the loved ones of the deceased.
The announcement came nearly nine months later when the office of labor standards in the city where the employee was employed discovered that the employee was suffering from depression as a result of excessive work.
These long working hours can have serious negative health effects. Based on Japanese government statistics, almost one in 10 deaths during 2019, was linked to over-working.
Source: Vice News