Gender Discrimination in Employment Added to SPC Civil Case Causes

March 3, 2017
By Women of ChinaEditor: Rong Chen
Hong Tianhui, member of the fifth session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), proposed that China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) add employment gender discrimination as one of the many causes for filing a civil case. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]


Hong Tianhui, member of the fifth session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), proposed that China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) add employment gender discrimination as one of the many causes for filing a civil case.

Reasons for Listing the Content

1) Gender Discrimination Violates Women's Equal Opportunity to Employment

Gender-based discrimination violates individuals' equal rights of employment as stipulated in China's Constitution Law, Hong pointed out. In particular, the Constitution forbids any kind of discrimination when it refers to employment, including nationality, race, gender, or religion.

Based on the constitution, China has issued a series of specific laws in order to safeguard the right to equal employments shared by men and women, such as, the Labor Law, Employment Promotion Law, and the Law Protecting Women's Rights and Interests (LPWRI).

They specify that employees should not decline an applicant based on her female gender or deliberately improve its relevant employment policy or practice for female applicants, aside from if the work type is not appropriate for women.

In recent years, however, female job hunters have encountered setbacks due to their female identity, especially after the nation's overall Two-Child Policy was released.

A survey released in 2015 by Renmin University of China reveals that male applicants receive 42 percent more interview opportunities than females who share the same educational background.

Therefore, it has become an urgent demand that effective measures be introduced to prevent and prohibit employment gender discrimination and further safeguard women's rights and interests in employment.

2) Inadequate SPC Civil Case Causes Hinder Victims from Receiving Effective Relief

Article 62 cited from China's Employment Promotional Law stipulates that workers can file a case to the local people's court if they face employment discrimination. This statute serves as direct legal basis for victims of employment discrimination who seek judicial relief.

Statistics reveal that ever since the introduction of this law, the court has received four civil cases in terms of gender discrimination in employment, in which the job vacancies requires of "only male applicants". All four cases have all been received on the case cause of general personal right dispute.

For example, a plaintiff named Guo Ruihua sued a Beijing school for only hiring only male teachers on July 11, 2012, known as "the first gender discrimination case in employment opportunity" in media reports.  Due to the lack of SPR case cause, a judge at the case filing chamber said they needed further discussion before deciding whether to accept the case.

After waiting for 14 months and a great deal of extra efforts, Guo finally was approved to file her case to a local court on September 10, 2013.

Therefore, lacking the specific statue may objectively provide a pretext for such case refusals, further hindering justice relief and people's rights protection.

When gender discrimination cases are received on the case cause of general personal right dispute, it is difficult for the plaintiff to receive adequate justice relief. Under such case cause, the court considers more of the infringement of the victim's dignity and other spiritual harms. The compensation fees are always very low.

In three out of these four cases, defendants were subject to a 2,000 yuan (U.S.$ 290) fine as compensation fees to the plaintiffs.

Such meager fines imply there is a low cost for companies committing such illegal gender discrimination. It also threatens not to safeguard women's legal rights and interests when it comes to any aspect of employment.

The lack of such case cause also makes it difficult to report and analyze similar cases. Without an adequate case cause, different courts could possible accept similar cases on different case causes.

In conclusion, there are three major obstacles in confronting this insufficient SPC legal explanation. They comprise of filing a case with a targeted reason, anticipated judicial assistance for victims, and the same type of reporting and analysis for relevant cases.

Concrete Proposal

As an event to improve the nation's startup and employment schemes, authorities urged all companies to regulate their employment policies and practices by eliminating any forms of discrimination, according to Decision of the CCCPC (Central Committee of the Communist Party of China) on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform issued at the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.

In particular, the authorities pledge to crack down on city-rural bias and discrimination in terms of industry, status and gender.

Hence, employment discrimination involving employment gender discrimination is in urgent need of eradication so that society as a whole can reach out towards justice.

To fit into the legal regulations, it is highly recommended to add gender discrimination in employment into the SPC civil case causes.

Add "Gender Discrimination in Employment" under category 17 Labor Disputes in Chapter Six Labor and Personnel Disputes in the Regulation on the Causes of Civil Action of the Supreme People's Court, and list employment gender discrimination dispute and other common employment disputes.

(Women of China)

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