A transgender man in China has won a landmark legal challenge against wrongful dismissal in what has been described as the country’s first such discrimination case.
The man, who identified as ‘Chen’, was illegally fired after just a week on the job at a medical clinic in south-west China.
In an article published in the Guiyang Evening News last month a manager at the clinic, suggested Chen had been sacked because he was transgender.
But the judge stopped short of forcing the company to apologise and did not say Chen’s dismissal was related to his gender identity. He was also awarded 2,000 yuan (£234), a month’s wages, in the ruling.
Chen told the Guardian:
“I have always said this case was never about the money,” .
“This lawsuit was about three things: dignity, raising awareness of transgender and other sexual minorities, and pushing for anti-discrimination legislation.”
Although satisfied with the ruling, Chen vowed to continue legal challenges to force an apology. He said:
“A lot of people face workplace discrimination but they don’t dare step forward,I felt like it was my responsibility to speak up.”
“I was bullied by classmates and teachers would just ignore my existence,” Chen said. “When I started looking for work I often felt discrimination and never was promoted.”
Wang Yongmei, one of Chen’s lawyers, said that without legal protection discrimination may continue without companies being held accountable.
“I’m not very optimistic that the employment situation of transgender people will change as a result of this case,”
“We still don’t have anti-discrimination legislation and I fear the lesson companies will learn from this case is to change direct intolerance into indirect prejudice.”