Employees shall not be discriminated against due to their ethnicity, race, gender, religious belief, disability or for migrating from rural areas. 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 labour contracts or internal policies restricting the rights of its female employees to marry and reproduce.
Protections Against Harassment
Sexual harassment against women is banned and victims are entitled to complain to the employer or the relevant authorities. Effective from the beginning of 2021, prescribes that both men and women are under the protection against sexual harassment and employers are obligated to take reasonable precautions, handle complaints, investigate and discipline, and prevent sexual harassment, conducted by exploiting authority or subordinate relationships or by other means. In the latest development on anti-sexual-harassment rules, the PRC Civil Code also describes sexual harassment as actions that are against the will of another (or others) and can be conveyed via language, words, photos, physical movement or by other means.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide Reasonable Accommodations
Employers shall provide disabled employees with appropriate working conditions and labour protection, and make appropriate modifications to the working place, equipment and living facilities. Employers in national autonomous regions are expected to give priority to recruiting candidates with minority ethnicity.
Where the employer fails to employ enough disabled employees at a certain proportion of the whole staff (e.g. 1.5% in Shanghai) as required by the local government, such employer shall be obligated to contribute to the Disabled Person Employment Security Fund (the “Fund”) on an annual basis. The Fund is established and committed to improving employment opportunities for disabled individuals and protect their legitimate interests in dealings with different employers. In practice, from an economic perspective, large companies usually choose to retain a satisfactory percentage of disabled employees, so that the company will be exempt from contributions to the Fund. As from 1 January 2020, employers with no more than 30 employees are exempt from contributions to the Fund.
If a female employee believes her right to marry or give birth has been violated, she may bring a case before the court and even seek compensation. The victims of sexual harassment may file a claim against the offender demanding an apology, moral damages, or other civil remedies. Employment discrimination cases are rare in China because, under current legislation, it is difficult to adduce evidence and there are no comprehensive remedies for employment discrimination violations.