Service Sector Employees Gain Protection from Abusive Customers

Service Sector Employees Gain Protection from Abusive Customers

Service Sector Employees Gain Protection from Abusive Customers

A government poster urges the public to refrain from using abusive language and behavior towards service sector employees. This initiative comes in response to the growing problem of customer harassment, known in Japan as "kasu-hara."

Convenience store chains Lawson and FamilyMart have implemented new policies allowing employees to choose initials or pseudonyms for their name tags, protecting their privacy and preventing online harassment. Seven-Eleven Japan is also considering revising its policy on employee name tags.

Beyond name tags, companies are taking further steps to protect their employees. Electric utility TEPCO Energy Partner will report abusive customers to the police and refuse service to those who make threats. East Japan Railway and other companies have implemented similar policies.

Airline ANA Holdings has established guidelines for recording interactions with customers with their consent, while taxi company Nihon Kotsu has implemented a system that automatically transmits dashcam footage to the head office when a driver encounters an abusive customer.

These efforts are showing positive results. A recent survey by labor union association UA Zensen found a decrease in kasu-hara incidents, with 46.8% of service sector employees experiencing abuse in the past two years, down from nearly 10 percentage points four years ago.

Katsuharu Matsuura from UA Zensen attributes this decrease to increased public awareness and the efforts of workers and employers. He emphasizes the need for collaboration with relevant ministries and agencies to establish a panel of experts and representatives to address the issue.

The labor ministry is considering revising a law to make it mandatory for companies to implement measures protecting employees from abusive customers, including developing customer service manuals and establishing employee helplines. Additionally, Tokyo officials plan to submit an ordinance to the metropolitan assembly to prevent kasu-hara.