NAGASAKI — A court in January 24 ordered the Nagasaki prefectural government to pay 500,000 yens $3,840 to an American assistant language teacher who was sexually harassed by another teacher and a vice principal.
A woman in her 20s who had worked at a prefectural high school, the plaintiff had sought 2 million yen in damages.
She said she was sexually harassed by a male ALT from another prefectural high school and by the vice-principal of the special-needs school where she worked.
Presiding Judge Daigo Furukawa of the Nagasaki District Court ordered the prefectural government to pay damages for failing to take adequate measures that could have prevented the harassment committed by the male ALT.
According to the ruling, the woman visited the male ALT's home in March 2018 to practice a song for a performance at a high school event. He then lifted her up, carried her to his bed and kissed her neck.
In October 2016 she joined a drinking party with other teachers.
According to the ruling, the vice principal leaped close to her in a karaoke room and asked her in English: Do you want to come home with me? The court ruled that the male ALT's conduct constituted sexual harassment while on duty, acknowledging that the singing practice was related to his work.
The ruling said that the prefectural government did not adequately inform ALTs about sexual harassment prevention guidelines, and there was no evidence that it provided guidance to them.
The prefecture had an obligation to take such anti-sexual harassment measures, according to the court.
The court also ruled that the vice principal's words and behavior constituted sexual harassment.
It said the prefectural government fulfilled its obligations to address the incident, such as checking the facts, providing guidance and taking measures to prevent a recurrence.
The plaintiff's lawyer told reporters after the ruling that the amount of compensation was small. We appreciate the fact that the court recognized the prefectural government's liability in some way. An official from the high school education division of the prefectural board of education said: We will review the ruling and consider how to respond.