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  • Discrimination at Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, report by Roy Choudhury

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 21st, 2009

    DISCLAIMER
    The following has been written by Roy Choudhury (roychoudhury14@yahoo.com).
    No statement here necessarily reflects the views or standpoints of Debito.org or of the webmaster, Arudou Debito. Mr Choudhury assumes full responsibility for all contents, and any possible errors and inaccuracies within the essay are his own. For questions, enquiries, and responses, I encourage readers and concerned parties to contact the author directly, as per the contact details below. DISCLAIMER ENDS

    **********************

    Updates (July 27, 2009):

    I am willing to share all evidence I have with members of the press should they express interest in covering the story.

    In addition, Mr. Louis Carlet of the Nambu Foreign Workers Caucus, a labor union, is willing to talk to the press on my behalf on key parts of my case that I have reported to him. The number for the NUFC is: 03-3434-0669.

    July 25, 2009: Daniel Rea, editor of the Japan Times Herald, has investigated my story and covered it in a piece titled ‘More Troubles for Ernst and Young Japan’. He also found another ex-employee of EY-Japan with a disturbing story. You can read it at http://japantherald.blogspot.com/

    Mr. Rea also says the following (taken from response no. 14 at the end):

    “I received photocopies and a SD recording of Roy and EYJ conversations. Also the same from another empoloyee from India. Everything he alleged is 100% factual. Just wanted you to know Roy and another EYJ employee were treated extremely unfairly. EYJ violates their Code of International Conduct on a routine basis it seems.
    -Dan”

    *********************************
    ESSAY BEGINS:

    I’ve written up the following piece with the intention of drawing media interest to this matter. My goal is to hold the accounting firm Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC to account for its actions.
    Roy Choudhury (roychoudhury14@yahoo.com)

    ======================================

    Ernst & Young’s Shame: Racism institutionalizes itself in the
    Japanese wing of the accounting giant
    By Roy Choudhury

    Exclusive to Debito.org July 21, 2009, freely forwardable

    Accounting can do wonders, but just where in the free world do you find an audit firm whose Global Code of Conduct shuns discrimination, but whose lead partner confirms that non-Japanese nationals are barred from getting permanent contracts? And whose department head admits to taking “language differences” into account – even for a job that needs no Japanese? Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC (or EY-Japan), the country’s largest accounting firm, has got some explaining to do.

    I worked for EY-Japan for two years (2006 – 2008) and have firsthand knowledge of how they treat people. As a US citizen, I can tell you I have never seen anything like it. They happen to be institutionally racist. And I can prove it.

    ======================================

    The evidence

    Three partners told me of a rule that barred foreigners from getting permanent contracts at EY-Japan (two now deny it, but I have the other recalling it on tape). This is despite the fact that the firm promised to uphold the Ernst & Young code of conduct which has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. The Code reads:

    “We embrace multicultural experience and diversity as strengths of our global organization. As such, we respect one another and strive for an inclusive environment free from discrimination, intimidation and harassment.”

    Yet when I challenged them on being institutionally racist, the head of the International Department denied the rule’s existence (on tape too), but admitted to taking “language differences” into account when hiring me (this is in the firm’s letter to me dated February 17, 2009).

    But this was for a position that required no Japanese whatsoever (I was an English proofreader). And if they take language differences into account for jobs that need no Japanese, then when do they not do so? Probably only when the person applying is Japanese, right? That’s very racist.

    Their attitude may have even led them to defy the law. Article 106 of Japan’s Labor Standards Law requires companies to make their rules of employment known to all employees, irrespective of nationality or language. But EY-Japan doesn’t always do this, partly because of language problems.

    The firm has been in existence since 2000. It says it can conduct quality audits of English financial statements, and issue English audit reports. It has no shortage of resources. You’d think they would have fixed any problems with language differences by now, if they wanted to. Sadly, it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    On retirement benefits, for example, partners were insisting in English that I wasn’t entitled to them (you can read it in their letter to me) – even though they had been deducting pension contributions from my paychecks. The explanation left me thinking that they were taking me for a ride.

    What they should have said was that I would be entitled to a state pension (nenkin), but I would not be getting severance benefits from the company (taishokukin). But I only figured out what they truly meant in June 2009 – 3 years after my start date with the Firm – after investing in a Japanese lawyer who kindly went over the contents of their letter.

    ======================================

    Foreign Employees

    They may have no idea of what they’ve gotten themselves into. The Code tells them they can’t be discriminated against. So they toil away convinced their careers in the firm are performance-based – unaware of the truth.

    ======================================

    The Damage to Clients

    If the firm officially views language differences as a risk factor when hiring (because, according to their letter, it might end up resulting in misunderstanding), it presumably also views multicultural work environments as dangerous to audit?

    I’m not 100% sure on this (because they refuse to take any more questions from me), but they could view a client with an accounting team consisting of Americans and Japanese as dangerous because of the mere possibility that they might be having misunderstandings, right? And they could see a client committed to a policy of promoting multiculturalism, who doesn’t proactively employ safeguards to protect itself from language differences, as illogical, yes?

    But that means billing the client more to compensate for the increased audit risk – purely because the client embraced diversity. That’s unheard of in modern day accounting. But it could be very real to EY-Japan.

    ======================================

    Groupwide anguish

    This leaves the folk at 5 Times Square with egg on their faces. Their US counterpart doesn’t tolerate racism. They were one of the first firms to hire people on merit when the anti-racist movement was taking shape. Imagine the collective jaw drop on hearing that a fellow firm was employing a racy rule and language differences (the existence of which can often be determined by skin color in Japan) to target non-Japanese nationals, despite guaranteeing a discrimination-free work environment.

    The crux is that partners with the wrong vision seized power in an accounting group committed to doing good. And rather than Ernst & Young standing for a higher ideal and taking the high road, and instead of them shaping the partners with their wisdom and goodness, these partners have succeeded in turning tables on the Group and are redefining Ernst & Young in their image.

    ======================================

    Part 2: An insight into their mindset

    This part is dedicated to unveiling the darker side of the firm’s character through examples of unethical and extraordinary behavior. Their actions might have passed as OK if it were a regular company. But accounting is a respected profession, and the people in it are assumed to be impartial and bound by the truth. Loyalty must be to the Code, not to themselves.

    With a slogan like doing the right thing, you’d have thought they were ethical and rational. In this they disappoint. Judge for yourself:

    ======================================

    A gagging attempt

    They knew I was unhappy with how they treated me before I left EY-Japan (their letter indicates this). In July 2008, they tried to muzzle me and put me under fierce pressure to sign a confidentiality agreement that defined confidential information in part as “all the information made available to me from your firm” (I still have the document and can prove all of it).

    In other words, I would never have been able to tell you what I’m telling you now if I had signed it.

    ======================================

    Unilateral changing of employment terms – one week before joining

    In my second job interview held in April 2006, a partner offered me a job and promised me a specific salary and “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”. I took him at his word and assumed “all of the benefits” to mean all of the benefits. And because one of the standard benefits of full-time employees in Japan is lifelong job security, I believed he was offering me a permanent contract.

    But just one week before my start – and seven weeks after the interview – EY-Japan inexplicably sent me an employment contract for only two years (the dates are confirmed in their letter to me).

    That put me in a bind. I had a permanent contract with the company I was working for, but I had told them weeks in advance that I had found another job. I had terminated my job hunt with other companies too. They were changing my employment terms unilaterally. That left me with few options. I ended up signing the contract and worked for EY-Japan until August 2008.

    (Note: As I did not tape record the interview, I cannot prove that I was promised “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”. You either believe me on this one or you don’t. But the matter is critically important because their response to it (covered in the next section) is extraordinary).

    ======================================

    A few fast ones

    I officially challenged EY-Japan in December 2008 and wrote four letters to them. They eventually responded with a letter of their own on February 17, 2009. Some of the arguments they deploy in the letter are extraordinary because they are based on insistence, and on opinions.

    For an accountant to twist the truth for personal gain means undermining everything the profession stands for. Arthur Anderson and Misuzu – if they were still around today – would testify to this. To call oneself an accountant while resorting to arguments not supported by the facts is oxymoronic. That’s the worst thing you could ever say to an accountant (it means you shouldn’t be in the profession).

    So the question becomes: do you think EY-Japan is being oxymoronic? Are they misleading people with their arguments? Judge for yourself:

    ======================================

    a) They conclude they never represented offering me a permanent contract at interview in April 2006.

    They state that the partner who hired me has no recollection of promising me “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”, and it’s illogical for the partner to ever say such a thing. Therefore, they conclude that no such promise was ever made.

    But that partner is on tape saying he doesn’t remember. And their conclusion is based on the inability of the partner to confirm or deny promising me “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”. This reasoning is overzealous.

    Moreover, a lead partner is on tape blowing a hole in the firm’s defense. He reveals that EY-Japan can never prove that it didn’t offer me a permanent contract in the 2006 interview, raising questions about the firm’s conclusion. Is the Head of the International Department, who prepared the February 2009 letter, using power to arrive at conclusions his colleagues don’t consent to? Is he being oxymoronic?

    ======================================

    b) They insist that it is inconsistent for me to state that I had no option but to sign the 2006 employment contract and join EY-Japan, since I did not express dissatisfaction with the employment terms when I signed the contract.

    This is a very old line of argument, commonly employed by bullies. Want something that’s not yours? First, change the terms unilaterally. Next flex muscles to deter the opposition. Assume silence to mean satisfaction. And double tag the victim with anger and disbelief if he complains.

    The problem is that the partners who handled my hiring are some of the hardest men around in accounting. They think there is nothing wrong with telling an employee that he is getting a two-year contract just one week before the start date – that’s more than six weeks after I had told my employer at the time, the one I had a permanent contract with, that I had found another job based on the results of the second interview. (The dates of the second interview and the letter of employment are clearly stated in their letter. I can prove this.)

    In addition, EY-Japan admits it was proactively taking language differences into account (for a job that needed no Japanese), and they could also have rescinded the offer at any time if I had challenged them. They also defied the Code by having a rule about foreigners, and, therefore, made racism an integral part of the firm’s character. Isn’t this being oxymoronic?

    ======================================

    c) They refuse to respond to any further questions from me

    So we will never know if the partner, who is on tape recalling that he twice told me of the Firm’s rule of barring non-Japanese nationals from getting permanent contracts, was telling the truth?

    And since this recollection was made right in front of the Head of the International Department who denies the rule’s existence (this is on tape too), we will also never know why the Head refuses to reconcile this discrepancy?

    They are intentionally leaving the matter in limbo when EY-Japan stands accused of racism and deceit. But why?

    ======================================

    A request to the reader

    If the above convinces you that partners with the wrong agenda have seized the reigns of power in EY-Japan and are beginning to redefine the Group in their image, and if you think putting a stop to it would be a good idea, then pass the message along. Get others to talk about it. Let’s get the press involved if we can. Because someone must hold them to account.

    ======================================

    Part 3: Timeline of key events

    My second interview at EY-Japan (or EYJ):
    April 10, 2006

    Start date at EYJ:
    June 1, 2006

    Last date of employment at EYJ (I left voluntarily):
    August 22, 2008:

    Formally challenged EYJ:
    December 10, 2008

    EYJ responds to my challenge in a letter given to me in a meeting which I taped openly:
    February 17, 2009

    Between February and June 2009, I investigated EYJ further, consulted several parties, did some soul-searching

    Around late June / early July 2009, I finally decided to take all matters public. My goal is to hold them to account for their actions, and get things changed.

    ======================================

    ENDS

    18 Responses to “Discrimination at Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, report by Roy Choudhury”

    1. Simon Says:

      > In my second job interview held in April 2006, a partner offered me a job and
      > promised me a specific salary and “all of the benefits of a full-time worker”.
      > I took him at his word and assumed “all of the benefits” to mean all of the
      > benefits.

      Welp, I can see two mistakes you made right there. First, you took a recruiter at his word. For someone who deals with companies and contracts all the time, you’d think you would have gotten this down on paper, yeah? Second, you _assumed_ a vague statement to mean something more specific.

      I’m sorry you lost your old permanent job over this, but it looks like you’re at least partly responsible for your situation.

    2. Joseph Hart Says:

      I would like to take the opportunity once again to remind those following this discussion that this sort of policy is very common with employers here, particularly acadamic institutions and resesearch facilities. This practice is not confined to language schools, nor to the company referred to by the author of the above piece.

      At the company I worked at for thirteen years, only one foreigner (a very prominent researcher) I know of has ever received a permanent position. He was recently forcibly retired after the recent implementation of a rule mandating retirement at age sixty. He is the only one ever to have been subjected to this rule as far as I know. There are a number of others (not foreigners) who appear to be well past this age, and are still working there.

      I was recently “non-renewed” from there after thirteen years at the age of fifty two at the same time as he was “retired”, so I have personal experience with this.

      Another common practice, particularly with foreign employees, is the lack of enrollment in such things as unemployment insurance or pension/medical benefit programs such as Shakai-Hoken. I found this one out the hard way. I was not enrolled in unemployment insurance for the first six years I was employed, but did not realize this until I filed for benefits. It is very important to check on this sort of thing if you intend to stay in Japan for any length of time. I wish I had been aware of this.

      Yet another common practice is that it is extremely difficult to get a technical position in computing (ex programming, engineering, technician) or a research position after the age of about thirty five. I have personally heard a number of accounts of policies requiring the mandatory termination of researchers over this age at some very well known companies, and these from people working at those companies. The “de-facto” unwritten age requirement is not limited to Japanese companies, but I am not familiar with any mandatory age related terminations elsewhere.

      These policies are typically unwritten, but are usually among the most carefully adhered to. I most strongly encourage anyone who may be subjected to this, or any foreign nationals to seek guidance from a labor union before you encounter any difficulties. I can personally recommend the General Union in Osaka. I seem to recall NAMBU is closely connected, though I am not so familiar with them.

    3. David B Says:

      I read this and have some sympathy with you but the main question I get from reading it is “what are you hoping to achieve” and is this the best way to do it.

      From reading this text, it seems to me that you are after revenge and want to make EY Japan look bad and negatively affect their business. Is that what you are trying to do?

      If you are after compensation for unfair treatment or trying to stamp out racism at the company I think you are going about this in the wrong way. Have you tried dealing with the head office in the US, who you state are so good for preventing racism? In some instances the US laws apply to US conglomerates overseas, particularly for the employment of US citizens.

      All the best with your crusade but my advice is don’t simply dwell on what you perceive as having been done to you but look to the future and decide what you want to achieve and then how best to achieve it (and if it is worth it).

    4. Ken44 Says:

      Anyone who has been in Japan for any length of time understands gaijins are often treated as second-class residents. Personally the main reason I stay is simply because I save a nice chuck of yen each month. Yet there are plenty that are married with children who can’t easily pack up and leave. I work with a number of bitter gaijins who feel they’ve gotten shafted over the years but unfortunately there’s really not much they can do but complain. My feeling is over-all the Japanese generally don’t give a damn what gaijins think and if we don’t like the program we can simply leave. Me? I’ll pack up and take off sometime within the next five years.

    5. TJJ Says:

      I agree with David B that contacting the EY people in the US is the best option. I suspect that the US people are completely unaware that there is a double standard in employment conditions in the Japan office.

      Frankly, this kind of discrimination is entrenched across a broad range of industries in Japan. There is an idea among many people that they can get away with treating foreigners poorly, for whatever reason (I’m not sure).

      Anyway, good luck and I hope you do manage to get EY in USA to punish the Japan executives who feel that they don’t have to abide by the company’s own mission statements. Please let us know how it develops – it may be very useful information for others in the same position.

    6. Paul Says:

      When I look for jobs I always confirm up front in the offer letter that the term used is Full Time Permanent Employee (Seishain), as this communicates all rights and benefits as defined by the company Rule of Employment. After that signed offer letter is in my hands, then notice is given to the current employer.

      I sense that maybe you were seen as a bit too confrontational – how else could you have tapes of conversations.

      I do sympathize with the employment discrimination aspect of using language capability as a criterion – but then discrimination is not illegal here. I doubt that the local press will see much of interest and agree with the suggestion to review this with the US side. Good luck.

    7. Roy Choudhury Says:

      I wrote the piece at the top. I think there is some confusion about my motives (I wasn’t as clear as I should have been). My motives are as follows:

      1) To document the fact that the above happened.

      I usually encourage people (both Japanese and foreign) to come forward if they believe wrongdoing has happened. If you do nothing about it, it means it never happened, right?

      My sincere hope is that people will read the above and take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen to them. Simon and Paul above suggest that I should have been more careful at interview. They are right. I was naïve. Hopefully, after reading the above piece, others will not make the same mistake.

      And if enough people come forward and attach their names and the companies’ names to stories of wrongdoing with evidence, the issue will reach critical mass and folks back home will cover it. The problem is not enough people do it.

      I’m thinking long-term, not short.

      2) I’m looking for press coverage because I want to hold these people to account for their actions. If successful, we will be able to send a message to any company in Japan whose parent company is located in the West, and who has signed up to a code of conduct that promotes human dignity and equality. That message is: practice what you preach.

      This is the most important reason.

      3) I want to be very clear that I’m not after revenge. Accounting is an honest profession. I want to ensure it stays that way. We can do this by holding people to account for what they do.

      Also, the accounting industry was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the West. With pressure, maybe Japan’s accounting industry can be made to take up a similar role. All of the large accounting firms have linked up with large overseas accounting firms. It’s worth a try.

      Note too that this has nothing to do with money. If I wanted money, I would have asked EY-Japan directly for it.

      With respect to head office, I do intend to contact them. But I want press coverage first, for the above reasons. I’m hoping people will scrutinize what I’ve said and look at the evidence I have to offer. I’d like to get some momentum first.

      Finally, with respect to Paul’s posting, I only tape recorded stuff after I had left the firm and formally challenged them.

      Roy Choudhury

    8. Manule Says:

      Roy, I simpathize with your cause, but I’m afraid this kind of behavior is inherent to the japanese corporate culture and is actually happening even in US soil by such corporations, check here: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/06/03/us/americans-complain-of-bias-by-japanese-bosses-in-us.html
      So it’s not that it has not been covered or it is not well known, it is and they (the corporations) just don’t give a s***.
      Epilogue: Foreigners do not put your hopes of a secured and bright future on a j job.

    9. Doug Says:

      Roy

      I sympathize with your plight and I also am directly aware of these types of situations, both in Japan, and in the United States with Japanese firms. Japan tends to be much more xenophobic and racist then most other developed nations when it comes to employment. In my over 10 years of running a business in Japan dealing with large corporations I have seen this first hand. At one time I thought this is changing, but things I have seen over the past 3 years lead me to believe this is actually not changning. As economies contract these tendencies tend to float quickly to the surface.

      On the other hand you have to take some responsiblity as well. I think you should have asked for all terms and conditions of employment prior to giving notice to your other employer. Verbal agreements are often not considered legally binding contracts and the document you signed takes precedence (even if it contradicts what you have on tape). Often when interviewing some of the interviewers do not fully understand the rules that will show up on the written contract (I am not excusing their actions – this is just a fact of life)

      You state, “They insist that it is inconsistent for me to state that I had no option but to sign the 2006 employment contract and join EY-Japan, since I did not express dissatisfaction with the employment terms when I signed the contract.”

      I have to agree with them on this statement (it does not mean I agree with them not offering permanent positions to foreigners, etc.). If the document presented to you to sign did not meet with your satisfaction you should not have signed it. I myself learned this lesson when I was younger (and it sucked big time).

      Joseph (post 2) “Another common practice, particularly with foreign employees, is the lack of enrollment in such things as unemployment insurance or pension/medical benefit programs such as Shakai-Hoken.” – This practice is actually common with even Japanese employees. Two of the employees (Japanese) I hired did not know they were not enrolled in Shakai Hoken, etc. and other benefits. After hiring these guys (both engineers) we had to pay some of the past witholding taxes for these individuals after negotiating with the insurance offices. I think this is more of a shady business practice issue rather than discrimination.

      Bias happens in Japan – this is a fact, and large corporations typically do not give a s*** as stated in post 8, unless their bottom line and corporate reputation will be impacted, however they tend to worry about their reputation among other Japanese only, and not worry about what foreigners think (this is the group culture – and remember we are never ever part of the group – even if we think we are or think we should be)

      On the other hand, although you have documented events very well and your story is compelling, I am not sure that this would become newsworthy (but I am saying this without seeing the documents you have – and I trust you have them).

      I personnaly would strongly advise against going to the press with this, however I would try to contact someone in Human Resources at the corporate office in the United States (with your timeline, well presented evidence, and documentation) and see how they reply. You might be surprised.

      I doubt the Japanese partners will communicate further with you as they too have probably obtained legal advice and have been advised not to discuss this with you further.

      Finally did you leave willingly (your post implies this) or did they not renew your contract? If you left willingly (aside from the obvious) were there any other reasons you left? Was life miserable for you after you complained? And was your being a foreigner used to justify making things miserable?

      Whatever you choose to do good luck to you!

    10. Anonymous Says:

      I am sorry with you Roy, but what were you expecting?. This kind of behavior is typical of japanese companies towards non japanese. I dont understand why many foreigners always think “it will not happen to me”. It is sad, but its the way things are done in Japan, as has been extensively documented in this web site and tons of books and other literature. Why insist on living in Japan? I will not deny that Japan is a safe, and to an excent, fun country, but except for those married and with children, I dont see any point in complaining while in Japan. As many people says, your only hope is to take this to Head Office in the US. Besides that, there is little you can do. Good luck.

      – Well, with a defeatist attitude like that, it can only continue as such. Can’t commenters be a little more encouraging of Roy? Enough of making him look like some kind of sucker for coming to work in Japan, folks.

    11. Eido Inoue Says:

      Manule, the NYT article you cite is from 1991, almost 18 years ago (back right after the bubble first burst but Americans still believed that JP was taking over the US economically).

      Not saying that JP discrimination doesn’t occur on US soil even today, but that article was written during a different era: before “Rising Sun” by Michael Crichton was written, and back when Wolferen’s Enigma of Japanese Power was still debated by wonks.

      So you need to take that article in context with the time period that it was written.

    12. Daniel Rea Says:

      Hey Debito,
      I talked to Roy on the phone this morning. It might be a good idea to remove his home address. There are many thugs out there that could vandalize his home just to get attention.
      I very much support Roy and his cause. At least he is trying to stand up and fight for his rights.
      If Japan really wants to be true G8 member and be legitimate enough to get a permanent seat on the UNSC then there needs to be anti-discriminations laws in housing, employment, and advancement.
      I wish more expats would be supportive of fellow expats experiencing hardships, instead of trashing and blaming them for their troubles.
      I am looking into Roy’s claims and plan to put his plight up on my site.

      – I put up Roy’s contact details in full at his request. If I receive the opposite request from him, I will comply. Thanks for advising, and for helping out!

    13. Max Says:

      Nothing new under the sun.
      It happens to any foreigner working on a local hire to be treated unfairly (by taking advantage of our initial ignorance about rules and norms of labor in Japan).

      I would suggest Roy to send in a report and get an official statement from HQ and also investigate if there was a violation of standard labor rules and get a redemption payment for that.
      good luck

    14. Daniel Rea Says:

      Hey, Debito
      On this topic I received photocopies and a SD recording of Roy and EYJ conversations. Also the same from another empoloyee from India. Everything he alleged is 100% factual. Just wanted you to know Roy and another EYJ employee were treated extremely unfairly. EYJ violates their Code of International Conduct on a routine basis it seems.
      -Dan

    15. debito Says:

      Updates (July 27, 2009) By Roy Choudhury:

      I am willing to share all evidence I have with members of the press should they express interest in covering the story.

      In addition, Mr. Louis Carlet of the Nambu Foreign Workers Caucus, a labor union, is willing to talk to the press on my behalf on key parts of my case that I have reported to him. The number for the NUFC is: 03-3434-0669.

      July 25, 2009: Daniel Rea, editor of the Japan Times Herald, has investigated my story and covered it in a piece titled ‘More Troubles for Ernst and Young Japan’. He also found another ex-employee of EY-Japan with a disturbing story. You can read it at http://japantherald.blogspot.com/

      Mr. Rea also says the following (taken from response no. 14 at the end):

      “I received photocopies and a SD recording of Roy and EYJ conversations. Also the same from another empoloyee from India. Everything he alleged is 100% factual. Just wanted you to know Roy and another EYJ employee were treated extremely unfairly. EYJ violates their Code of International Conduct on a routine basis it seems.
      -Dan”

    16. kokogahenda Says:

      You might be able to file a complaint with the EEOC in the United States. I do not know how the ownership structure of the accounting firms works in Japan, but employers “controlled” by a US entity are subject to employment discrimination laws worldwide, but only as to US citizens outside of the United States. So if you are a US citizen being subject to employment discrimination based on your race (or for that matter, forced retirement based on age), and a US employer is at the top of the food chain, congratulations – you may have a lawsuit in federal court! There are a number of issues (if the E&Y local office is in fact locally owned, if the discrimination is based race, not nationality (less problematic)), but you could probably get the EEOC to look into it at least.

    17. Giuseppe Says:

      Of course I feel bad for you, but at the same time you need to share part of the blame.

      Why in the world did you give up your job based on a spoken promise?

      I know, I know, Japan is a safe country and a spoken promise can be compared to a written contract, and … whatever, BUT.
      The minute you expose yourself you become vulnerable. You should
      a) Sign the new contract with a start working date far in the future, say one month (hey, you can say you need a vacation or relocate).
      b) Once you signed the contract, quit your present job.

      In case they do this kind of trick you can simply say, thanks but no thanks.

      Wish you luck though, and I know you won’t make the same mistake again.

    18. Rob Says:

      disturbing story, really??!?!?!?!

      I’d have to agree with some of the previous posters here that you are quite responsible for your situation. I know many of the EYSN LLC partners, both foreign and Japanese, and they are, generally speaking, very open minded and very normal people.

      Any big organization will have rotten apples though…

      The job is for “proofreading,” so of course language is going to be a factor when hiring. The fact that you can’t communicate with the non-English speaking staff (majority of the firm doesn’t have a good grip on the eng language) is a big negative, in terms of upward career movement- in any firm, in any industry, and any country.

      What if you were Japanese and in NYC proofreading Japanese documents for a Tokyo based company? Do you think you could even get your foot in the door- let alone benefits or a full-time job without English? (which doesn’t mean anything, because US companies are quick to terminate employment) Besides, do you really want to work in a company when you can’t communicate with the majority of your co-workers?

      You quit your job before getting an offer letter… You shouldn’t have done that. (Does anyone really sympathize with this???)

      Whatever that partner mentioned during the meeting, in terms of compensation and benefits, means NOTHING. What if he offered you more money during the interview and then sent a letter which indicated a lower salary? Would you complain about that 2 years after having signed the letter and having worked there under those conditions?

      You needed a Japanese lawyer to explain about what types of benefits were in the offer letter??? Was the letter in Japanese? Did you even read the letter or understand any contents in the letter? And you quit your job before you even got this letter???

      [invective deleted]

      A gagging attempt…please, this is truly the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while. You were proofreading (I’d guess) financial audit reports, which before they’re released, are extremely confidential. And every accounting firm worldwide has had problems with their employees (and partners) leaking that information in some fashion. Of course they may ask you to sign that kind of agreement. I’m sure you will find people who will find negative things about insider trading, etc (misuzu, kanebo, you name it- thousands of examples worldwide). But I really don’t think any rational people will take issue with your complaint.

      I doubt that you will get any attention from this whatsoever.

      [swipe at Debito.org deleted]

      Roy Choudhury, I do feel bad if you’re on the street looking for work in this economy- it is brutal and I do sympathize. I hope you find something suitable under conditions that you think are appropriate, legal, and fair. Read the offer letter first.

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