Langley Esquire particularly excels in the area of labor law and labor relations. This specialty was initiated many years ago when Timothy Langley attended Tohoku University Law School in Sendai. In this program, graduate students must chose a special field and – in Langley’s case – this was labor law.
Since then, this technical training has been honed by years of aiding companies like Apple Computer, General Motors, and advising countless companies in their hiring and firing policies. It is not an over-exaggeration to state that as General Counsel, Langley has been directly involved in employing or disengaging hundreds of individuals at all levels on the organizational chart.
This is a fine and delicate area within companies, obviously, as the results are ultimately profit/loss determinative. Yet while the vast majority of HR specialists understand the dynamics and the various protections afforded to labor in Japan, it is the foreign-capital companies that frequently find themselves in a difficult position due to heavy-handed positioning, sometimes by a foreign boss, and surprisingly these days – by repatriated Japanese executives after long stints in the Americas or Europe.
This is due, in our experience, to long-distance management of head-count and finance by headquarters located overseas. In almost every instance, HQ gets it wrong. In the face of this, it takes a particularly strong team in Japan to equalize this tendency to “deal in Japan the way we deal elsewhere.” The brunt of this responsibility falls upon the HR Director. In practically every situation of which we are aware, this important HR position belongs to a Japanese national who emerged into the work force from an undergraduate law program at a Japanese university.
While it has been stressed before, in labor relations in particular it is imperative to keep out of Japanese courts in settling disputes. This is because the individual is generally protected from the overbearing economic, political and social power innately possessed by companies in Japanese society. This is translated to mean that the courts, the judges and the laws add a bit of an advantage to the individual fighting against the corporate machine. This is generally considered common knowledge among professionals in the field here.
This is not to say that one should NEVER follow-through with a court suit in Japan; it merely means that – all things being equal – well, all things are NEVER viewed as being “equal”. – one is best advised to marshal considerable resources, i.e., mountains of hard evidence plus fortitude at the corporate level to follow-through consistently for an extended period of time – before launching a court battle.
Finally, as in many areas of attempting to be successful in Japan, much of the troubles companies invite in this dicey area are due to failures to provide appropriate documentation. This does not include just simply contracts properly executed, appropriate Non-disclosure Agreements and non-compete clauses, but also (and just as equally) by sloppy drafting, by failure to follow-through on Terms & Conditions, and by a failure to adequately police agreements already in place. There are many, many explanations for these failures, including the aversion to written agreements throughout Japanese society. However, when a non-Japanese element is thrown into this mix, even when everything else is picture-perfect there is just too much variation for parties at loggerheads to adroitly manage to a successful conclusion. This is true even when everyone involved already understands the tremendous negatives potentially unleashed as a result of failure. This easily devolves into a vicious circle that damages everyone involved.
As a result, many well-meaning, fine individuals find themselves in a hot situation because they are being manipulated and extorted even before they realize it – sometimes unwittingly inviting it. Langley Esquire is called to resolving these kinds of situations regularly. Within the context of an employment relationship, however, the adversarial nature can escalate quite quickly. It is precisely for this reason that HR within companies should receive excellent training and supervision by a qualified in-house human resources professional… or have an actionable 3rd party source available on the outside chance that trouble arises.
Call Langley Esquire preemptively to run an assessment of your HR coverage, your security…Work Rules… employee-training … NDA management, etc. Otherwise, if a situation is already in-play under your watch, quickly call Langley Esquire to assist you to keeping temperatures in-check while the issues are immediately addressed and amicably resolved.
Whatever your situation … whatever dynamics you are confronting … it is a good bet that Langley Esquire has been-there / done-that before. Benefit from this experience. Failure in this area is always far more expensive (and permanent) than success might be rewarding (and fleeting).