1. Brief Description of Anti-Discrimination Laws
Currently, the rules on anti-discrimination are scattered throughout various laws and regulations. However, these rules are very general and impractical and do not specify what discrimination is, how to determine its existence, how to allocate the burden of proof in establishing it and what liability should be imposed.
2. Extent of Protection
Employers, when recruiting new employees, shall not discriminate against female employees, ethnic minority workers, disabled people, and rural workers. Also, employers shall not refuse to employ a job candidate on the basis that he or she is a carrier of any infectious pathogen unless otherwise provided by laws and regulations. Particularly, an employer is forbidden to include provisions in its labor contracts or internal regulations restricting female employees’ right to marry and reproduce. If a female employee believes her right to marry or give birth has been violated, the employee may bring a case before the court and even seek compensation.
3. Protections Against Harassment
Harassment in China is mainly addressed as sexual harassment in our legislation. The law explicitly states that, “sexual harassment against women is banned. The victims shall be entitled to complain to the entity or the relevant organs.” Furthermore, employers shall prevent and prohibit the sexual harassment of female employees in their work places.
4. Employer’s Obligation to Provide Reasonable Accommodations
Employers shall provide disabled employees with appropriate working conditions and labor protection, and make appropriate modifications to the working place, equipment and living facilities.
Currently, employers who violate laws regulating sexual harassment may only be punished under tort law or criminal law. Legal practitioners in China have urged for the establishment of a more comprehensive anti-sexual harassment labor protection regime in the near future.