What's new

News Corporate whistleblower claims he was surveilled at work


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
An employee has initiated legal action against the Otsuka Foods Co., based in Osaka, seeking compensation of 2.2 million JPY (equivalent to USD14,100) for being reassigned and deprived of duties after exposing wrongdoing within the company. The individual, who brought the case before the Otsu District Court on 13 May, contends that he "endured conditions akin to house arrest and was monitored by higher-ups," leading to a diagnosis of depression. Operating under the umbrella of Otsuka Holdings Co., Otsuka Foods employs the man at its Shiga facility's quality control division in Konan, Shiga Prefecture, where his responsibilities include examining product samples.

According to the complaint, in November 2021, it was discovered that non-food grade plastic bags were used for packaging products like powdered Pocari Sweat sports drink at the Shiga factory. Dust and other contaminants were found in these bags, prompting the man to report the issue to Shiga Prefecture's food safety surveillance center. Following an investigation, in August 2022 the center identified possible Food Sanitation Act violations and issued instructions to the factory to prevent a recurrence. The man was transferred to another department in April 2023. He was later diagnosed with depression, and took sick leave for about four months starting that September. The plaintiff claims that his new job at the department mostly consisted of sitting idly in front of a computer "while surrounded by managers, with a surveillance camera pointed at my desk." He alleges that his report to the food safety center led to this treatment, violating the Whistleblower Protection Act prohibiting disadvantageous treatment of whistleblowers. He furthermore claims the company failed in its duty of care for its employees' working environment.

Top Bottom