“Your next assignment to join the Business and HR Development Center”
Wow! A division called the ” Business and HR Development Center.” Sounds impressive; that must be a division in order to fast track top management talent, huh?
Actually, this the official name of Panasonic Group’s 追い出し部屋 or “Banishment Room.” This is actually part of a subsidiary company of the Panasonic Group located in Yokohama. It contains rooms with old desktop computers and the employees are expected to use them to find other jobs whether inside or outside the company.
Employees assigned are told “You no longer have a job to do, so you need to go to the Business and HR Development Center to look for another job within the company.”
You see, in Japan it is nearly impossible to fire or layoff a single full time employee without overcoming huge legal hurdles.
The company must prove that its business circumstances are such that redundancies are unavoidable and necessary.
- Effort to avoid redundancy
The company must prove that it has made serious managerial efforts to avoid redundancies such as by re-assigning staff and advertising for voluntary redundancies.
- Reasonable selection
The company must prove that the standards by which it selected those to be made redundant are reasonable, and that redundancies were carried out fairly.
- Reasonable process
The company must prove that it conducted sufficient consultations with workers and labor unions.
It takes incredible amounts of time and effort to do the above and even then you still have a legal risk of being sued by the fired employee. The above burdens are high and it can be a challenge to prove that you took “all possible steps.”
So it’s much easier to encourage employees to voluntary take early retirement or a severance package and leave on their own.
“You no longer have a job to do, so you need to go to the Business and HR Development Center to look for another job within the company.”
Translation: “Get the fuck out! We don’t want you so after you are unable to find a job inside a group company you will finally see the writing on the wall and get the fuck out!”