On November 12th, the Hangzhou municipality Xicheng district People’s court decided that the Oriental Cooking School (东方烹饪学校) was guilty of gender-based discrimination because it had a “hiring men only” policy.
In June 2014, freshly graduated Huang Rong applied for a job at the Oriental Cooking School and was turned down because of her “female identity”. On September 10th, the Xicheng District court accepted to file the case. The company argued sex restrictions were stemming from “a deep consideration for women’s well-being” because the selected applicant had to accompany the school’s dean on field missions and share the same hotel room. The court rejected the argument on the grounds that the skills required did not place the job in the list of professions for which sex restrictions are accepted as laid out in the “Special regulations on the labor protection of female workers”.
According to Xu Ying, the plaintiff’s lawyer, there are still many cases of gender based employment discrimination in China and most of the time victims do not turn to courts for justice. In 2011, a report published by the All-China Women’s Federation showed that 91.9% interviewees felt that companies had a “gender bias” when looking for staff.
Xu Ying explains furthermore that terms such as “equality” and “discrimination” are not clearly defined in relevant legislation, leaving wide space to lawyers’ and judges’ interpretation.
Huang Rong is not fully satisfied with the decision mainly because the company has not provided her with written apologies yet. Therefore, she is thinking of filing an appeal to a higher court.