Pro­tect your­self, know your rights

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWOCENTS - By Kym­bra Li

If a for­eigner work­ing in the Chi­nese en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try gets in­jured or en­coun­ters rights in­fringe­ments, what can they do to pro­tect their rights? There are so many mov­ing parts to this topic, and many for­eign­ers are ei­ther un­aware of their rights re­gard­ing these is­sues or are afraid to speak up and have them en­forced.

This is­sue came to the fore last year when a for­eign en­trant in an in­ter­na­tional mod­el­ing com­pe­ti­tion died. It came up again re­cently when I spoke to a for­eign ac­tor work­ing legally in China who was in­jured on set last year.

The ac­tor said he was ini­tially un­aware of the proper course of ac­tion to take fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent.

It is al­leged that the pro­duc­tion com­pany was at fault for not prop­erly train­ing other ac­tors in a fight se­quence that re­sulted in two bro­ken ribs, sev­eral months of missed work, and ex­pen­sive med­i­cal bills.

“The la­bor law ap­plies to all work­ers, re­gard­less of na­tional- ity. You just need to prove that the ac­ci­dent hap­pened while at work and show proof of lost in­come or costs re­lated to the in­jury. China is pretty clear on work reg­u­la­tions and has plenty of laws pro­tect­ing work­ers’ rights,” the ac­tor said.

He seems to think that for­eign­ers are at fault for ei­ther be­ing ig­no­rant of the laws that gov­ern them or for al­low­ing them­selves to be taken ad­van­tage of, as many of them, un­like him­self, are work­ing here il­le­gally and will­ing to tol­er­ate a lot more shenani­gans be­cause they are afraid of be­ing de­ported. I asked him what a for­eign ac­tor should do if they get in­jured on set. He said the best thing you can do is get com­plete doc­u­men­ta­tion from the hos­pi­tal. Ev­ery­thing needs to be recorded when it hap­pens, and they need to keep all the pa­per­work. If the doc­tor says they can’t work for a cer­tain amount of time, they need to get him or her to add that to the med­i­cal notes. They also need to mes­sage who­ever is the high­est author­ity at their place of work as soon as it hap­pens and get them to ac­knowl­edge it. The in­di­vid­ual should also take pho­tos of the in­jury as soon as it hap­pens as well as any sur­round­ing ar­eas to sub­stan­ti­ate their claim. The judge will want ev­i­dence that it hap­pened on set, and pho­tos and screen­shots are great proof, he said. In sum, know your rights, doc­u­ment ev­ery­thing right away and most im­por­tantly, be care­ful out there!

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