Innocent? Draw a white chess piece
By Yu Nan (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2006-04-06 16:50
All employees of a chain supermarket in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang
Province, have to draw chess pieces at the exit for staff before they leave,
only to prove they are innocent or have to be body-searched.
This practice, draw of the luck
or innocence, has been in place ever since the Auchan supermarket opened in the
city, according to a report by Kingboo newspaper on Tuesday.
Show me your pocket!
It's our rule.
Ms Zhang, an
employee of Auchan supermarket, said the strange security check system has been
used by her employer for a couple of years. All staff must pick a chess piece
without looking at the color, to determine if they will be searched or
"You can leave straight away if you pick up a white chess piece at
the staff's exit, but if you get a black one, your pockets will be thoroughly
searched whether you are male or female, regular staff or a manager, " Zhang
said. "It insults my dignity," she added angrily.
At the beginning, she
objected to the regulation, but had to put up with it because few staff dared to
complain about the checks.
The assistant manager of Auchan Hangzhou
branch claimed that the regulation has been carried out by staff voluntarily
since the shop opened.
"The company has never forced it on employees," he
explained, "it just reminds them not to take things that don't belong to
A lawyer from Xingyun Law Office, Wei Yongqiang, said the
regulation is illegal, and may infringe employees' human rights, from a legal
point of view.
The regulation in fact discriminates against people who
work for the supermarket, Wei said.
Wei pointed out that in other
countries, supermarkets that have such "ridiculous" regulations may be subject
"The regulation should be suspended as soon as possible,"
An unnamed official at the Hangzhou Municipal Labor and Social
Security Bureau said they have begun to look into the issue, and would take
measures if any problems were found.
The official also suggested that it
would be better for supermarket staff to complain directly to the Hangzhou Labor
Union, or even sue the company with union support.