Business / Companies

Pregnant employee may file lawsuit over sacking

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2012-05-10 13:33

Says she was asked to leave after telling boss test results

A mother-to-be is threatening to sue her former employer for sacking her after she became pregnant.

Dong Xiaohui, 34, who is eight to nine weeks pregnant, said she was asked to leave her job as editor-in-chief at in late April.

"I have hired an attorney," she said, adding that she feels she has collected enough evidence, including recordings, e-mails and text messages, to win a case.

Dong said her attorney might file a lawsuit in two months.

"I felt hurt when I was fired last month because of my pregnancy, and now I'm worried about the health of my baby," Dong told China Daily on Wednesday.

A spokesman for, a subsidiary of Pacific Online, a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, denied the allegation that Dong was asked to leave the company as a result of her pregnancy.

Dong, who graduated from the prestigious Fudan University, based in Shanghai, has an MBA.

"Women like me, who have been well educated, should fearlessly go to court to safeguard their legal rights and interests when they have not been treated fairly," she said.

Dong joined in February 2011. She was managing editor-in-chief and then was promoted to editor-in-chief because of her good performance.

Dong said her boss, Li Anyun, senior vice-president of Pacific Online, asked her to resign on April 24.

"Li told me that I was no longer well suited for the job," Dong said.

Dong said she told Li she was pregnant via text message after an examination at Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicines on April 19 and asked for a day off.

Zhang Congmin, chief operative officer of Pacific Online, also asked Dong to quit her job when Li failed to persuade Dong to leave, Dong said.

"I thought I had given good news to my bosses and the company, but I felt hurt and sad after I learned that I had been dismissed," said Dong.

Dong said that in March, she had told her boss she wanted to resign because she was unsatisfied with her low salary. Dong asked for a pay increase of 30 percent.

"Business volume witnessed a year-on-year growth of more than 100 percent in the previous year," Dong said.

At the time, according to Dong, she had sent a text to Li agreeing to remain in her job after Li repeatedly asked her to stay.

"Li was glad that I agreed to continue in office and said there was no problem on the salary issue," Dong said.

Wei Zhengmin, human resources director of Pacific Online, refused to admit that his company had dismissed Dong or canceled her employment contract because of her pregnancy.

"At the moment, we still do not know whether Dong is pregnant or not, because we have not received any formal notice from a hospital," Wei told China Daily on Wednesday.

Wei promised to carefully handle Dong's case according to laws and relevant regulations. He insisted that his company had approved Dong's resignation.

Liu Jicheng, a lawyer from Guangdong Sino-Win Law Firm, said the employer violated laws and relevant labor regulations if Dong was dismissed because of her pregnancy.

"According to relevant laws and regulations, no employers are allowed to dismiss female employees who are pregnant, or unilaterally cancel their employment contracts," Liu said.

He urged Dong to apply for labor arbitration.

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