Juren Academy lawsuit (re employment gender discrimination in China)
On 11 July 2012, a female job applicant named Cao Ju (pseudonym) filed a civil lawsuit at the Haidian District Court in China against the Juren Academy (Juren), a tutoring school, alleging gender discrimination. This case is believed to be the first employment gender discrimination lawsuit in China. Juren Academy denied gender discrimination but acknowledged that it was a mistake to limit the recruitment to men.
Cao applied for an administrative assistant position at Juren via an online recruitment. She believed that she met all the requirements in the personal specification. When she revisited the online recruitment after not getting a response to her application, she found that it now included a new “men only” requirement. When Cao inquired about the position, Juren allegedly told her that it would consider only male candidates. With the assistance of the anti-discrimination organization Yirenping, Cao filed a lawsuit before the Haidian District Court, seeking compensation of 50,000 yuan. On the same day, Cao also submitted a complaint to the Haidian district branch of the Beijing Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.
The Haidian District Court did not respond to the filing of the civil suit within the prescribed time limit. Subsequently, Cao submitted a complaint regarding the court’s failure to respond with five other bodies, between August and September 2012. Cao eventually heard only from the Labour Inspectorate which, on 30 November 2012, dismissed the case.
On 29 January 2013, Cao filed an application for administrative review of the Labour Inspectorate’s decision with the Beijing Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, but it upheld the Inspectorate’s decision on 28 March 2013. On 12 April 2013, Cao launched an administrative lawsuit at the Haidian District Court, claiming that the Beijing Human Resources and Social Security Bureau had failed to fulfil its statutory duty. In May 2013, the Haidian District Court accepted the administrative lawsuit but dismissed the case two months later. Concurrently, on 26 May 2013, more than 100 female university students from across China signed a letter to the Committee for Internal Affairs, as well as the Judicial Committee of the Beijing People’s Congress and that of the Haidian District People’s Congress, calling for them to ensure the Beijing courts accepted Cao’s case. On 10 September 2013, the Haidian District Court finally accepted the civil case against Juren.
During the hearing on 18 December 2013, the principal of Juren admitted that the academy had made a mistake in attempting to recruit only a male candidate for the administration assistant role, but stated that no gender discrimination was intended. Juren submitted that, as 78% of the staff at the academy was female, it was in need of male employees to carry our more physically demanding tasks. Juren agreed to settle the case by paying 30,000 yuan to Cao “as a special fund to support female equal employment opportunities and anti-gender discrimination” and by issuing an apology to her.
- “China: woman settles in first gender discrimination lawsuit”, Tania Branigan, Guardian (UK), 28 Jan 2014
- “Plaintiff obtains 30,000 yuan in China’s first gender discrimination lawsuit”, China Labour Bulletin, 9 Jan 2014
- [CH] "2013年十大劳动维权案例点评", 《劳动午报》, 2014年1月2日[“A review of the top ten labour rights cases of 2013”, All-China Federation of Trade Unions, 2 Jan 2014]
- [CH] "从曹菊案看“反就业性别歧视”", 谢彩凤, 人民法院报, 2013年12月27日[“Looking at anti-employment gender discrimination through the Cao Ju case”, Xie Caifeng, People’s Court Daily (China), 27 Dec 2013]
- “China's First Workplace Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Closes”, China News, translated by Women of China (edited by Yulanda Wang), 19 Dec 2013
- [CH] "“就业性别歧视第一案”调解结案 巨人教育当庭致歉", 高健、蒋妍, 北京日报, 2013年12月19日[“First employment gender discrimination case settles as Juren apologises in court”, Gao Jian & Jiang Yan, Beijing Daily (China), 19 Dec 2013]
- [CH] "90后女毕业生提首例就业性别歧视诉讼 索赔5万元", 中国青年报, 2012年7月25日[“1990s generation female graduate file first employment gender discrimination suit, seeking 50,000 yuan compensation”, Wang Huidong & Ye Tieqiao, China Youth, 25 Jul 2012]
- “Women protest company accused of discrimination”, Luo Wangshu, China Daily, 25 Jul 2012
- [CH] "女生起诉巨人学校只聘男性 或成性别歧视第一案", 宁夏新闻网, 2012年7月12日[“Woman sues Juren Academy for only hiring men, may become first gender discrimination case”, Li Qiumeng, Ninxia Daily News (China), 12 Jul 2012]
All components of this story
Author: Tania Branigan, Guardian (UK)
When recruiters said they could not hire her because they needed a man, Cao Ju…got a lawyer. Now the company has settled…for 30,000 yuan (£2,985), in what is believed to be China's first gender discrimination lawsuit…[T]he…Juren Academy – a private tutoring firm – specified that it wanted a man for the post of executive assistant and rejected her because she was a woman...It said a man was needed as the work would include physical tasks such as changing the bottle on a water dispenser…Operators at the Juren Academy refused to transfer the Guardian's calls, but its CEO has described the payment…as a special fund for caring for women's equal employment, rather than compensation. He told Chinese media his school had never discriminated against women and employed mostly female staff…Rights advocates say significant progress will require new sex discrimination legislation...
- Related stories: Juren Academy lawsuit (re employment gender discrimination in China)
Author: Yulanda Wang, China News, translated by Women of China
China's first workplace gender discrimination lawsuit reached settlement in the Haidian District Court in Beijing…The case, launched by a girl named Cao Ju against the Juren School, a private training institute, ended with the school making a formal apology to Cao and providing her with compensation. Cao had filed the case against the school for rejecting her job application on the basis that they only recruited male candidates…Yin said the school gave up its right to defense, "not because we had gender discrimination intentions…but because negligence on the part of our human resources department caused unnecessary misunderstandings." In the end, Juren offered 30,000 yuan (US$ 4,905.71) in compensation and formally apologized to Cao…Yin said, "This case…has drawn public attention to the need to improve human resources departments…" Gender discrimination is still relatively common in China…the Employment Promotion Law… clearly states that employment discrimination cases can be prosecuted.