On August 31, 2016, the Tokyo High Court issued a decision ordering a company to pay an aggrieved employee approximately 60 million JPY (with such amount being more than twice the amount ordered in the original decision of the case before it was remanded). The case concerned an employee who was notified of her dismissal during a leave of absence due to depression. The employee made a claim for damages against the company on the grounds of a violation of the duty of care the company owed her, alleging that her depression was caused and aggravated by overwork. In awarding damages, the Tokyo High Court reasoned that the company failed to exercise due care to reduce the amount of work for the plaintiff. In the original decision on February 23, 2011, the Tokyo High Court had reduced the amount of compensation by 20 percent from the amount of damages otherwise found by the Tokyo High Court, on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to provide the company with information regarding her mental health, such as her visits to a psychiatrist. However, on March 24, 2016, the Supreme Court, holding that the amount of compensation should not be reduced for such reason, overruled the Tokyo High Court's decision concerning the amount of compensation and remanded the case to the court for further exploration on the issue. This series of decisions is noteworthy as it indicates that companies must pay attention to overwork and that a heightened level of the duty of care may be imposed on companies in relation to depressed employees.
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