Tue, Sep 10, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Japan cases highlight paternity issues

AP, TOKYO

They deny the allegations.

The case getting the most attention is that of Glen Wood, a Canadian, who is fighting to get his brokerage manager job back at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley.

Wood was still negotiating with his bosses to take three or four weeks of paternity leave when his son was born six weeks premature in Nepal.

Wood said that his bosses were extremely reluctant to let him take time off, but he decided he had to go. The doctors told him he had to go immediately to see his baby in intensive care.

Wood returned to work five months later, in March 2016, after his son recovered and could be safely brought to Japan.

However, he was barraged with what he alleges is harassment at work. His job assignment was changed. He was chided for not showing up at meetings he had not been invited to. He was ordered to take DNA tests to prove he was really the father, which he did, as well as psychiatric tests by two doctors, who both said he was fine. He was dismissed last year.

“Whenever anybody puts up their hand and says they’re harassed, basically that person becomes the weirdo, and that person ends up getting harassed,” Wood said.

Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley denies any paternity harassment and has stressed it intends to fight the allegations in court.

PETITION SUPPORT

Wood has gotten thousands of signatures on an online petition expressing support for his case and opposing harassment, including comments from Japanese, mostly fathers, who said they were facing similar experiences.

Taken off the career track, the father who works at Asics says he feels helpless. Still, he is proud of how he did all the cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping while he was on leave.

Naoto Sasayama, his lawyer, said his client believes in standing up for what is right.

“He was being made an example of,” Sasayama said. “This case raises the important question of whether a person must value company over family.”

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