Toyota Motor Corp. has come to a settlement with the family of a male employee who killed himself in 2017, acknowledging that his suicide was caused by harassment from his superior, a senior Toyota official said Monday.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda has met with the family and offered an apology. The settlement was reached on April 7. Toyota did not disclose the amount of compensation it agreed to pay.
Local labor authorities had determined that the then 28-year-old employee was suffering from adjustment disorder as a result of harassment from his superior, who constantly abused him verbally by calling him names like "moron" and telling him "You'd be better off dead," according to a lawyer for the family.
Toyota has put in place measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.
"We will continue to work toward creating a comfortable workplace climate by promoting preventive measures and without tolerating harassment by superiors," the automaker said in a statement.
The bereaved family said in a statement, "We will continue to pay close attention to whether Toyota has really changed."
The worker joined Toyota in 2015 and started designing vehicles at its headquarters in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, from March 2016. He took a leave of absence in July 2016 after developing adjustment disorder, a stress-related condition that can cause depression, anxiety and social withdrawal.
He was assigned to another section upon returning to work in October that year, but his former superior was seated close to him. The worker committed suicide in October 2017.
In April 2020, Toyota revised its in-house rules to clarify penalties for harassment by superiors, among other steps, to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.