IBM Japan: why should employees have to wait four years for substantive action?

This one is quick post for feedback.

The issues that I’ve been writing about go to “events” of March 2008 and April 2008—four years ago. Basically, a deal was struck in March 2008, and then IBM Japan turned around in April 2008 and sought to undo it, i.e. breach.

An EEO filing was made in October 2008, and finally, substantively, responded to in September 2010. The response suggested “oops!” there was a mistake and/or misunderstanding about what had occurred in March 2008, and, therefore, it was perhaps not the product of discrimination. That was good enough for the EEOC to say “unable to determine”. With 100,000 filings in their hopper, each year, you can bet that any company that can introduce ambiguity into a situation is going to get “unable to determine”. This does not mean “no discrimination”; it just means that, based off what the EEOC can apply to the investigation, they can’t determine a result.

It left open the problem, though, that if the breach was mistake or misunderstand[ing], who’s fault is that? Who ends up eating the loss from the breach? The breaching party? Or the one who was breached against?

This part of the matter couldn’t be adjudicated as long as the EEO held the administrative charge. Once the Notice of Rights (release by the EEO) was issued, it could be.

Yet, again, we have a thing where responses only go in at the deadline, in a matter where the defendant then still claims “no case”.

What should concern everyone who believes in civil rights protection, is this practice where it takes at least four years from the time of an incident before any substantive dialogue can even be had. What good is a law, if it takes years and years before any movement is had on a case that involves that law?

I get the feeling that the other side has sought delays to make it seem like I am discussing the seating arrangement of the Cabinet in the Chester A. Arthur administration (1881-1885). A few friends have said to me, though, that it may be that IBM has been holding out in the event I return to Japan (since I lived there 5 1/2 years). The statute of limitations has already expired in Japan, and, if I were in Japan, it might make it easier to argue forum non conveniens to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York—since I would be in Tokyo (or elsewhere in Japan).

I am not so sure about that last one, since S.D.N.Y. is certainly not “inconvenient” to a Westchester County, New York corporation. I think it goes more to the first thing, that delay makes it all sound like it’s coming from the Arthur Administration.

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