kanebo forced costumeThis is one of the weirder employee motivation techniques we’ve ever heard of: A company forced one of its employees to wear bunny ears for not meeting her sales quotas.

A 61-year-old employee of popular Japanese skincare brand Kanebo Cosmetics sued her employers for mental distress, saying that when she did not meet her sales targets she was forced to wear humiliating costumes including a pair of large, fluffy bunny ears. Mainichi Shimbun reports she also wore a fortuneteller costume to a company training meeting as punishment. Her bosses took photos of her in the costumes and used them as slides during company training programs.

The woman said the humiliation and mental distress of being forced to wear silly costumes at work made her physically ill.

The court eventually ruled in her favor, saying that it was illegal for the company to force her to wear costumes, and that while she had technically done so voluntarily, in the context of a work environment she really couldn’t have said no.

In the suit she asked for 3.3 million yen, or about $42,000, in damages. While she technically won the case, the verdict only required the company to pay 220,000 yen, roughly $2,200. Her lawyer said that she had settled with the company and received a larger sum, but he did not specify the amount.

On the face of it, wearing a set of bunny ears might not seem like a particularly harsh punishment. But wearing bunny ears loses a lot of its charm when it’s an obligation, and one can’t deny that they’re pretty juvenile looking. Intentionally embarrassing an employee for not making a sales target seems like a pretty shitty thing to do, and Kanebo apologized to the woman and said it would work to make sure nothing like this happened again.

Via The Brunei Times/Photo: Shutterstock