According to CYZO and Microsoft (MSN) network reporting, sourcing My News Japan. Facts in this incident are thus:
1) Unbeknown to workers at IBM Japan, headquarters instituted a “resource action” during late 2008. The goal was to eliminate about 1,500 jobs.
2) Since Japanese Labor Law recognizes a right that workers have to their jobs (“regular employment”), IBM Japan could not simply fire the workers it wanted to.
3) Management put pressure on targeted individuals to resign and take a package. If the targeted employee did not “agree”, then more private meetings were called to threaten the employee to retire. According to the lawsuit and MSN, the threats just escalated until the company got its way.
4) Four individuals took the matter into Tokyo District Court. They have not been successful so far, because it sounds like they took the package, then sued.
[More commentary later.]