The Japan Labor Standards Office is not very useful. I know.

An Australian who works for Fidessa Japan has put it out, elsewhere on the internet, that he feels that I should not rely on the American government to get my money and contract rights honored in the IBM Japan situation. This is so, even though IBM Japan is a 100%, or, as they say, wholly-owned subsidiary of the International Business Machines Corporation of Westchester County, New York.

Instead, he feels that only the Chuo Ward Labor Standards Office should handle a matter like that. Here is his exact comment:

Try to untangle this with me for a moment. Obviously, the post is coming from the website of former commenters who now post on Tepido. (It is a website that I really didn’t read most of this year, until I became part-subject of a post. Now I look at it quite a bit.) I don’t know whether Chuckers was at his job in Fidessa Japan when he posted it, like so many of his earlier posts to me. But, how would you respond to 80% of what got posted there? Chuckers claims not to read me very much, which means it’s someone else from Fidessa who stops by from time to time–sure, that can be. But the post is replete with cheap shots.

He suggests that I have “blamed Japan” for that fact the IBM broke Title VII (the U.S. anti-discrimination law) in its Japan operations. This is actually a repeat of criticism that he posted on this site in February. I don’t know what to tell him. I do not blame Japan. I blame IBM. That’s why we’re in New York.

I don’t know how employees in Fidessa’s U.S. operations feel about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but I do hope they follow it. I am sure they do follow it, and this is just one employee mouthing off on the internet because he feels I am too lenient in what he sees as a problem with whatever Debito Arudou’s opinions about Japan are.

In fact, as regular readers know, I did stop by the Labor Standards Office about the matter, in 2009. But they offered no relief, because they told me that they had limited enforcement power. They are not a court.

As you know (regular readers, that is, whether at Fidessa or otherwise), if you bring an action in Japan and intend to file an administrative charge with the American EEO, you run the risk that the EEO will not pursue the matter because it is in the Japanese courts. A decision out of something like the chiho saiban shou is a decision on the merits. This means that, in our common law system, the facts must be taken as they are, and if relief was not granted, that is your “too bad”.

This is referred to, generally, as “estoppel” and “res judicata”, or as issue preclusion and claim preclusion. In New Jersey, it is called the Entire Controversy Doctrine.

So you can visit an administrative agency like the Labor Standards Office, but when they tell you they don’t have enforcement power (which may or may not be true), your Japanese remedies end. That is, if you hope to have any stateside.

I appreciate that an Australian might not consider these fine points of law–even though Australia is a common law country, too. But if you are a reader who is interested in this area of employment law, you really should know this.

[Update: If you read the Fidessa wiki, which gives the history of the company from 1981, it really is a dynamic outfit. They are focusing on growth in the electronic trading sector, and on delivering for the customer. I am surprised that anyone would have time during the day to go around posting on the internet as Chuckers–like what is going on at tepido this morning (Japan time).]

[Update 10/7/11: The old name for Fidessa was Royalblue Financial.]