A Chinese transgender man said he was disappointed but will continue to fight for equality after a labour arbitration panel on Tuesday rejected his complaint that he was fired unfairly, in China’s first transgender job discrimination case.
The man, who uses the name Mr C to protect his parents’ privacy, said the panel in the southwestern province of Guizhou granted his demand for about $62 in back wages but also ruled that his employer broke no law in dismissing him.
“I am not satisfied with just the paid-back wages. What I want is respect, and respect from the whole of society for minorities like us,” Mr C said in a phone interview shortly after the arbitration panel handed down its decision.
“I am very disappointed about the result,” he added. “This (arbitration) process has made me realise that discrimination against sexual orientation is far worse than I had expected and I will continue to appeal to defend my rights.”
Mr C was hired in 2015 for a sales job with a local health services centre but was let go eight days later, when the probation period ended. Mr C believed he was dismissed because he lives as a man even though he was born a woman.
The arbitration panel rejected a voice recording in which the company’s sales manager told Mr C that the way he dressed would negatively affect the firm, said Huang Sha, a lawyer for Mr C. The panel ruled that the conversation “did not represent the company’s true intent”, citing the fact that the sales manager did not work in the personnel department.
Instead, the panel accepted a performance evaluation produced by Ciming Health Exam Centre that stated that Mr C did not demonstrate adequate skills for the sales job, Huang said.
“We think the evaluation is an excuse,” the lawyer said, adding that the sales manager had previously acknowledged Mr C’s abilities.
Both Huang and Mr C said they plan to appeal the labour panel’s decision at a local court.
A woman who works for Ciming denied on Tuesday that the company discriminated against Mr C. She refused to provide her name or further details.
China does not recognise many LGBT rights such as gay marriage and its laws do not protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.