Yikes. Sounds like Japan is past due for a Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
According to the Daily Mail, workers in Japan who want to get pregnant are expected to do it in order of seniority (meaning, “time on the job” rather than “number of ticks left on biological clock,” which could be tough if you’re a 40-year-old new hire):
Japanese workers are being given schedules dictating when they can get married or give birth, it has been revealed.
The disturbing trend first came to light after a nursery worker’s husband spoke out to say his wife was being bullied by her boss for getting pregnant ‘out of turn’.
Since then dozens of other women have come forward to share similar stories, with one 26-year-old woman saying she was told to wait until 35 to conceive – despite already suffering from fertility issues.
The initial complaint came in a letter to newspaper Mainichi Shimbun last month, from the husband of a woman who works at a nursery in Aichi Prefecture.
He wrote: ‘Eight months into our marriage, in January of this year, we found out that my wife was pregnant.
‘My wife, who is a child care provider, appeared glum and anxious over the news.
‘The director at the child care center where she works had determined the order in which workers could get married or pregnant, and apparently there was an unspoken rule that one must not take their “turn” before a senior staff member.
‘My wife and I went together to apologise. “We’re sorry we got pregnant,” we said.
‘The director grudgingly accepted our apology, but since the next day, has been chiding my wife with harsh words, such as, “How could you so selfishly break the rules?”
More disturbing details at the link, all of which will make you grateful to live in America.
Robin Shea is a Partner with the law firm of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP and has more than 20 years’ experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act; and class and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage-hour laws; defense of audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; and labor relations. She conducts training for human resources professionals, management, and employees on a wide variety of topics.