Nokia lawsuit (re HBV discrimination in China)

诺基亚乙肝歧视案(中文版)

In March 2007, a Chinese job applicant sued Nokia for discriminatory employment practices.  The applicant alleged that Nokia China cancelled plans to hire him after he underwent a company medical examination and tested positive for the Hepatitis B virus (HBV).  He claimed 500,000 yuan (about $70,000) in emotional damages in what is reported to be the first HBV discrimination case against a foreign multinational in China.  

 Government and scholarly sources estimate that between 90 and 130 million Chinese people carry HBV, and many of them suffer workplace discrimination because of this status.  Chinese government regulations prohibit employment discrimination based on HBV status.  The government has publicly reminded employers of these prohibitions to try to discourage discrimination against HBV carriers.

The Dongguan People’s Court accepted the case in May 2007, and court proceedings commenced in August 2007.  Nokia claimed that it denied the applicant employment because another candidate was more competent for the position, and because he was colour-blind.  Nokia pointed out that it had hired several workers for the Nokia Dongguan factory who are HBV carriers.  The applicant submitted a recording of a conversation between himself and a Nokia human resources employee, in which the Nokia employee implied that his HBV status was the reason the company would not hire him.  Nokia denied that the person on the recording was employed by Nokia.  At the conclusion of the proceedings, the judge decided to conduct a retrial of the case.  The retrial of the case was taken by the Dongguan Intermediate Court, and it took place on 31 July 2008.  On the same day, the applicant filed a public complaint against the responsible judges of Dongguan Intermediate Court for unduly closing the trial to the public.  On 22 October 2008, Dongguan Intermediate Court ruled against the applicant.  The court ruled against the applicant because he was unable to authenticate the recording of the conversation between himself and a Nokia human resources employee on which he relied during the trial.

Chinese HBV carrier sued Nokia, complaining about the Second Instance by Dongguan Intermediate Court's lack of Transparency, Boxun News, 31 Jul 2008 [Chinese language only]

One of the Ten Most Important Labour Dispute Cases of 2007: Nokia HBV Discrimination Case, Legal Daily, 20 Jan 2008 [Chinese language only]

Nokia China faces lawsuit over rejection of Hepatitis-B carrier, Helsingin Sanomat, 16 Aug 2007

Asia column – China’s disease of workplace discrimination, Ethical Corporation, 4 May 2007

Chinese Job Seeker Sues Nokia, China CSR, 20 Mar 2007

Denied employment for being HBV positive, a graduate sued Nokia, sina.com, 15 Mar 2007 [Chinese language only]

HBV carrier sued Nokia for employment discrimination, asking for 500,000 RMB compensation, Lin Jie, 15 Mar 2007 [in Chinese; summary English translation available here]

Nokia China Faces Lawsuit Over Rejection of Hepatitis B Carrier, Mure Dickie, Financial Times, 12 Mar 2007

- Nokia: CR Report 2007 - Medical Evaluations, 21 May 2008

- China Labour Bulletin: Dongguan court’s dubious ruling in Nokia HBV discrimination case, 6 Nov 2008

- China Labour Bulletin: Employment discrimination at Nokia (China) must be rectified, 14 Oct 2008 [open letter from China Labour Bulletin to Jorma Ollila, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nokia Corporation]

Beijing Yirenping Centre [Chinese non-profit public interest organization focused on disease prevention, health education, assisting patients and eliminating discrimination]

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Article
15 October 2008

Nokia goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid culpability in Hepatitis B discrimination case

Author: China Labour Bulletin

A court in Dongguan, China, recently reconvened to hear evidence in a case against Finnish telecommunications giant, Nokia, in which a job applicant claims he was refused employment because he carried the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). The court hearing, which opened on 6 October 2008, is closed to the public and China Labour Bulletin is concerned that, given Nokia's statements in previous hearings, justice in this case will prove illusive. Nokia has so far refused to accept that it was at fault in the case.

Read the full post here

Article
1 October 2007

[PDF] Public Interest Litigation in China - A New Force for Social Justice

Author: China Labour Bulletin

Public interest litigation (PIL) is relatively new to China but has grown rapidly over the last decade to become a significant and increasingly influential form of legal action...Many of [the] middle class professionals set up non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to aid disadvantaged groups...Moreover the legal framework in China changed in order to keep pace with social and economic change. China signed up to a wide range of international treaties and agreements such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and implemented laws such as the Administrative Litigation Law in 1990 and the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests in 1993...[The report gives examples in these areas: C]onstitutional rights,...the right to education[,...l]abour rights litigation, usually related to workplace discrimination or health and safety issues,...consumers' rights,...right to information,...environmental protection...[Refers to companies including: Coca Cola, HP, Foxconn, Nokia, People's Bank of China, Chongqing Qiutian Gear, Perfect Gem and Pearl Manufacturing.]

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Article
16 August 2007

Nokia China faces lawsuit over rejection of Hepatitis-B carrier

Author: Helsingin Sanomat [Finland]

A Chinese job applicant recently filed a lawsuit against Nokia in China, claiming that Nokia’s subsidiary in Dongguan turned him away after discovering that he was a Hepatitis-B carrier. He is claiming compensation of CNY 500,000...According to the Nokia company policy, a chronic disease must not have any influence on a recruitment decision, unless it makes the applicant unable to work or causes a considerable risk to others...At the court hearing his lawyers presented a recording that allegedly proves that a woman working in the personnel department of Nokia rejected Li on the basis of the HBV..."This case will make the problem known publicly. It will also teach HBV carriers how to defend their legal rights", said Lu Ju, an HBV activist, who is assisting Li in the lawsuit.

Read the full post here

Lawsuit
11 November 2002

Nokia lawsuit (re HBV discrimination in China)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

In March 2007, a Chinese job applicant sued Nokia for discriminatory employment practices.  The applicant alleged that Nokia China cancelled plans to hire him after he underwent a company medical examination and tested positive for the Hepatitis B virus (HBV).  He claimed 500,000 yuan (about $70,000) in emotional damages in what is reported to be the first HBV discrimination case against a foreign multinational in China.  

 

Government and scholarly sources estimate that between 90 and 130 million Chinese people carry HBV, and many of them suffer workplace discrimination because of this status.  Chinese government regulations prohibit employment discrimination based on HBV status.  The government has publicly reminded employers of these prohibitions to try to discourage discrimination against HBV carriers.

 

The Dongguan People’s Court accepted the case in May 2007, and court proceedings commenced in August 2007.  Nokia claimed that it denied the applicant employment because another candidate was more competent for the position, and because he was colour-blind.  Nokia pointed out that it had hired several workers for the Nokia Dongguan factory who are HBV carriers.  The applicant submitted a recording of a conversation between himself and a Nokia human resources employee, in which the Nokia employee implied that his HBV status was the reason the company would not hire him.  Nokia denied that the person on the recording was employed by Nokia.  At the conclusion of the proceedings, the judge decided to conduct a retrial of the case.  The retrial of the case was taken by the Dongguan Intermediate Court, and it took place on 31 July 2008.  On the same day, the applicant filed a public complaint against the responsible judges of Dongguan Intermediate Court for unduly closing the trial to the public.  On 22 October 2008, Dongguan Intermediate Court ruled against the applicant.  The court ruled against the applicant because he was unable to authenticate the recording of the conversation between himself and a Nokia human resources employee on which he relied during the trial.

 

- Chinese HBV carrier sued Nokia, complaining about the Second Instance by Dongguan Intermediate Court's lack of Transparency, Boxun News, 31 Jul 2008 [Chinese language only]

- One of the Ten Most Important Labour Dispute Cases of 2007: Nokia HBV Discrimination Case, Legal Daily, 20 Jan 2008 [Chinese language only]

- Nokia China faces lawsuit over rejection of Hepatitis-B carrier, Helsingin Sanomat, 16 Aug 2007

- Asia column – China’s disease of workplace discrimination, Ethical Corporation, 4 May 2007

- Chinese Job Seeker Sues Nokia, China CSR, 20 Mar 2007

- Denied employment for being HBV positive, a graduate sued Nokia, sina.com, 15 Mar 2007 [Chinese language only]

- HBV carrier sued Nokia for employment discrimination, asking for 500,000 RMB compensation, Lin Jie, 15 Mar 2007 [in Chinese; summary English translation available here]

- Nokia China Faces Lawsuit Over Rejection of Hepatitis B Carrier, Mure Dickie, Financial Times, 12 Mar 2007

 

- Nokia: CR Report 2007 - Medical Evaluations, 21 May 2008

- China Labour Bulletin: Dongguan court’s dubious ruling in Nokia HBV discrimination case, 6 Nov 2008

- China Labour Bulletin: Employment discrimination at Nokia (China) must be rectified, 14 Oct 2008 [open letter from China Labour Bulletin to Jorma Ollila, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nokia Corporation]

- Beijing Yirenping Centre [Chinese non-profit public interest organization focused on disease prevention, health education, assisting patients and eliminating discrimination]