While business circles are trying to make it smoother and easier for companies to let go of employees (with full benefits of course) they feel lack initiative and drive and are not a good fit, it’s having a reverse effect on employers. Those who want to fire certain workers but cannot bring themselves to do so are using “banishment rooms” to indirectly force them to resign on their own.
Basically, banishment rooms are departments where companies transfer surplus employees and give them menial or useless tasks or even nothing to do until they become depressed or disheartened enough to quit on their own, thus not getting full benefits, unlike if they were actually let go. Imagine having to stare at a TV monitor for 10 hours at a time each day, in order to look for “program footage irregularities.” Of course companies would not admit to doing this, and instead will make up generic (or even creative) titles and department names like “Business & Human Resource Development Center” or “career development team”. And it’s not small companies that are doing this, but big ones like Hitachi Ltd., Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp., Seiko Instruments Inc., a NEC Corp. subsidiary, and two subsidiaries of Panasonic Corp.
A public relations from the main office of Panasonic said that the BHC section is “training employees to acquire new skills so they can work at different sections,”. 468 employees were added to this department in April, mostly coming from sections that were doing poorly. In short, 1 in 10 workers at the company are at the BHC. So far, only 35 employees have left the company while 29 got transferred to other departments.
Understandably, it is difficult to get exact numbers or details about whether or not companies do have these “banishment rooms” because no company would officially admit to doing so and would probably say that employees who claim this are just bitter. But either way, business circles are determined to overhaul Japan’s problematic business practices in order for employers to fire workers for the reason that the company needs to move quickly to “seize growth potential.”
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]