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School to pay salary of sick teacher who died

By Xue Chaohua in Lanzhou and Zhang Yu in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-23 07:42

A college in Gansu province said on Monday that it would pay the salary of a teacher with ovarian cancer whom it fired for long-term absenteeism - and who subsequently died.

The school, which made the posthumous move in the wake of public anger, also suspended the head of its human resources department, Jiang Xueyun, according to a report by thepaper.cn.

The teacher, Liu Lingli, 32, taught English at Lanzhou Jiaotong University's Bowen College. When she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in July 2014 she applied for a six-month sick leave, the report said.

When her leave ended, Liu was fired for long-term absenteeism, with the college claiming she did not extend her leave in time, and that it did not know about her condition.

Liu died on Aug 14.

Three other employees of the college with serious diseases were also fired after taking sick leave, Beijing News reported.

Liu's posthumous employment was backdated to Jan 19, 2015, the day she was fired, according to reports by both thepaper.cn and the Beijing News.

The college said it would pay a salary of 57,600 yuan ($8,600) for the period from September 2014 to August, during which time she was not at school, and that her family would also receive 14,400 yuan as a consolation payment for her death.

Jiang, the head of the college's human resources department who dealt with Liu's sick leave and dismissal, was suspended for what was characterized as her mishandling of Liu's employment, according to news reports.

China Daily's phone calls to the college went unanswered on Monday, and no statement from the college about the case was found on its website as of Monday afternoon.

Liu's family and their lawyer, Cai Xiang, also declined an interview request on Monday.

Following Liu's death, members of the public and media outlets called the college inhumane for firing a teacher who was suffering from cancer.

The dismissal left Liu with no income and no social insurance, which resulted in financial strain on her family as they struggled to pay for her cancer treatment.

The family sued the college over the dismissal.

Two local courts ruled that the dismissal was not justified because Liu's absence did not constitute leave without permission, or absenteeism.

Liu's father said the college had not made any comment on the courts' rulings until Sunday.

The college released a statement on Saturday, saying it was deeply sorry for Liu's death and that an investigation into the incident was underway.

According to the Beijing News, Liu's family and the lawyer were waiting for an apology from the college.

"Our primary demand from the college is an apology, because my daughter deserves respect," Liu's mother Liu Shuqin was quoted by Beijing News as saying.

Contact the writers at zhangyu1@chinadaily.com.cn

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