Transgender to sue former employer for discrimination
A transgender man who claimed that he was fired because of his gender identity is determined to take the company to court, according to his lawyer.
The litigant, a 28-year-old surnamed Chen, failed to reach an agreement with his former employer Ciming Checkup, a health services firm in Guiyang, capital of Southwestern China’s Guizhou province, at a regional arbitration panel earlier this year.
This case has been dubbed as China’s first-ever workplace discrimination incident involving a transgender person.
Ciming Checkup fired Chen for wearing men’s clothes on the job seven days after he was hired as a salesperson last April, said Chen’s lawyer Huang Sha, who works for Guangdong Jinzhuoyue Lawyers Firm.
The company had agreed to pay Chen for the seven days of employment but rejected the requested compensation and written apology.
Ciming Checkup could not be reached for comment, but a manager at the company told the Guiyang Evening News in March that “Chen’s appearance really did not fit our standards”.
Chen’s case comes amid efforts by some national legislators to include a law against employment discrimination on the law-making agenda of the National People’ Congress. A number of experts have already drawn up a draft of this proposed law.
Advocates said that, in addition to the potential protection such individuals can receive from the legal framework, education in schools and companies about diversified cultures is crucial to dispelling prejudice and discrimination in society.
There needs to be a deeper understanding about the culture of minority groups, Huang said, noting that most schools do not contain programs about such subcultures.
“Horror usually comes from something we are unfamiliar with. It’s human nature,” he added.
Steven Paul Bielinski, the founder of the nonprofit business network WorkForLGBT, said that an important first step would be to enact clear policies that prohibit discrimination at work based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Many companies have such guidelines included in their labor contracts or employee handbooks, but do little or nothing to discuss or actually enact these statues in China,” he said.
“LGBT employees need to know they can be open and honest at work. People spend one third of their lives at work. No one should have to waste all that time pretending to be someone else out of fear of ridicule.”
Horror usually comes from something we are unfamiliar with. It’s human nature.”
a lawyer of Guangdong Jinzhuoyue Lawyers Firm