Respect for Human Rights
The Panasonic Code of Conduct expressly states that "we must respect human rights and do our best to understand, acknowledge and respect the diverse cultures, religions, mindsets, laws and regulations of people in the different countries and regions where we conduct business." Panasonic supports the fundamental principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The major parts of these principles are embodied in the Panasonic Code of Conduct.
Panasonic is also taking an active approach to reflecting ideas concerning global human rights in its management, including by making reference to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which were adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011.
In fiscal 2015, Panasonic complemented the Code of Conduct by setting a "Global Human Rights and Labor Policies" and by implementing a management system for abiding by that policy. The management system consists of self-assessment checklists for properly evaluating risks involving, and the impact on, human rights and for identifying risks, a manual outlining the procedures for correcting the risks that have been identified and for carrying out continuous improvement, and other components.
Going forward, in addition to efforts conducted with its employees, Panasonic will continue to cooperate with its suppliers throughout the world to fully understand laws and labor practices in different countries and to respect human rights.
As a company doing business globally, Panasonic treats, as a fundamental principle behind its business activities, interactions with not just its employees but all stakeholders with the maximum degree of concern and respect for their human rights. Panasonic's policies concerning human rights are expressly outlined in Panasonic Code of Conduct and Global Human Rights and Labor Policies. These policies include items concerning such issues as working hours; wages; humane treatment; prohibition of discrimination; protection of privacy; concern for the human rights of foreign workers, trainees, and younger laborers; and the freedom of association plus labor-management dialogues, among others.
Panasonic conducts periodic training concerning its Code of Conduct—which sets forth its policies on respect for human rights—including when employees join the company or are promoted.
The company conducts "Overseas Employee / Pre-Overseas Appointment Training" for employees on assignment from Japan and posted at overseas subsidiaries. It provides education on issues of human rights that demand particular attention overseas, including fair treatment, the prohibition of employment discrimination, and respect for union activities.
Responsible Executive and Framework
The executive in charge is Senior Managing Director Mototsugu Sato (as of August 2016).
The departments responsible consist of the Human Resources & Industrial Relations Department established at the Panasonic headquarters, the human resources departments established at each of the four Panasonic Companies (Appliances, Eco Solutions, AVC Networks, and Automotive & Industrial Systems), and all business divisions and affiliated companies under the Panasonic umbrella.
Human Rights Support Desk
Panasonic has established an Equal Employment Opportunity Office at its headquarters and appointed full-time consultants to staff it. In addition, a consultation desk was established at each Company and business division in an effort to provide a place for employees to go to discuss their concerns about sexual harassment, harassment based on power differentials, topics related to the rights of members of sexual minorities (LGBT*), and a wide range of other topics relating to human rights.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Office also conducts activities aimed at resolving workplace problems and creating workplaces without barriers to employees performing their jobs. For example, in fiscal 2016, the office conducted training for managers concerning, among other things, creating a stimulating workplace culture; 97% of managers who attended the training responded that they "were able to change ways of thinking." On more concrete terms, respondents provided positive opinions on the training, such that they reaffirmed the importance of initial responses and were able to clearly understand what efforts they needed to undertake; that the training had served as a good opportunity to once again re-evaluate their own actions and words; and that they wanted to work toward sharing with all workplace members respect for individuals, communication, and mutual support, and toward creating a workplace in which such shared ideals could be put into practice. In addition, some attendees provided suggestions for further improvements to the activities of the Office, including that the range of attendees for the training should be expanded while the training itself should be conducted periodically.
In its overseas subsidiaries as well, Panasonic is acting with all due attention to the privacy of those who seek consultation or report misdeeds, including by establishing consultation offices and suggestion boxes similar to those in Japan.
* LGBT: An acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender