A Shanghai court has
accepted the first case of a hepatitis B carrier who claims he was discriminated
against by an employer because of his medical condition.
The plaintiff, a young university graduate named Chen Cheng, is only one of
many virus carriers who are having trouble getting jobs because of misinformed
employers, according to a support Website for hepatitis patients. His suit,
accusing Shanghai Changshuo Technology Co Ltd of unfair hiring practices, was
accepted yesterday by Nanhui District People's Court.
Chen is demanding a public apology and 12,800 yuan (US$1,600) in
Chen applied for a job at Changshuo in December 2005 when he was a senior at
a Jiangsu Province university. After several rounds of interviews, Chen said he
was offered a job as an assistant engineer after he graduated. In the meantime,
the company asked him to complete a physical.
The report showed Chen carried the hepatitis B virus but was not suffering
from the disease, which can cause serious liver damage.
Three weeks after Chen sent the report, Changshuo canceled the employment
agreement, Chen's lawyer said.
China has about 120 million hepatitis B virus carriers. Many have suffered
similar rejection on the job front, according to a Website that supports those
with the condition. In fact, it was after discovering that Website that Chen
filed his suit.
While there is apparently no specific law prohibiting such discrimination, a
new standard for civil servants that went into effect in January stipulates that
hepatitis B carriers shouldn't automatically be barred from most jobs.
Medical experts point out that carriers are different from hepatitis
patients, and that the virus can be transmitted only through the exchange of
The only jobs carriers are not allowed to take are in the food industry and
A Changshuo official surnamed Xiao said yesterday that the firm initially
adopted a strict human resources policy but later amended it to accommodate
people like Chen - and even offered to let him apply for employment again.
Xiao said the company treats the lawsuit seriously but hopes it can be
settled in "a harmonious way."
Chen, who is still unemployed, no longer wants to work for the Shanghai firm,
his lawyer said.