In a job discrimination case in Guangdong province, China has finally ruled against an employer who dismissed an HIV-positive employee. The alleged first-ever victory has been hailed as a milestone in China’s efforts to combat discrimination against individuals with HIV.
The Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court on June 19 ruled that it is against the law to demand that the HIV-positive plaintiff quit his job at a State-run public institution so he could get enough “rest.” The 27-year-old plaintiff, Ah Ming (pseudonym), received the order in 2015 during a physical examination that was required for him to apply for a permanent post at the institution, after working for three years as a contracted employee.
In April 2016, Ah filed a labor arbitration case in Guangzhou to resume his job, though the case was ultimately rejected. In February of this year, Ah’s first case against his employer also ended in failure – like so many other job discrimination cases related to HIV in China.
During the second trial, the court pointed out that there is no law, regulation or industrial guideline banning HIV carriers from working as food inspectors. Arguing that Ah was fired due to fear that he would infect others, the employer was then able to turn down all HIV-positive job seekers, which goes against Chinese policies that protect the basic rights of HIV patients, the court noted at the second trial. The court also emphasized that HIV/AIDS is only spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, and does not require isolation.
According to Ah’s lawyer, Qiu Hengyu, Ah was told when he applied for the permanent job that his disease would prevent him from complying with the provincial employment standards for State-run public institutions. In January, the plaintiff filed an administrative litigation case against Guangzhou’s human resources and social security bureau, hoping to change these standards.
“We believe that the court’s ruling this time will have a positive effect on future litigation,” Qiu told the People’s Daily Online.