2016-05-10 08:04:46

On Tuesday a labor arbitration court in China’s southwestern province of Guizhou ruled that the dismissal of transgender man Mr. C by his former employer Ciming Checkup was legal.

It was the first claim of transgender employment discrimination to be heard by a Chinese court.

After the ruling, Mr. C told Sixth Tone in a text message that he was disappointed. He said the ruling was a blow for labor rights, and that he now felt discrimination against transgender people was worse than he had previously thought. 

Mr. C said he will appeal the verdict.

He and his lawyer, Huang Sha, claimed the dismissal was because of Mr. C’s clothing — in line with this male gender identity, Mr. C wore a suit and tie to work, though his identity documents are marked female, as per his gender assignation at birth. 

Mr. C supported his claim with six recordings and a media report, but the court ruled them inadmissible as evidence.

Presenting several company documents, Ciming Checkup claimed Mr. C was dismissed because his work performance was not up to their standard. This justification was accepted by the court.

The judgment awarded Mr. C his unpaid wages of 402.30 yuan ($62), 200 yuan less than he had asked for, and denied his other requests of a formal written apology and 2,000 yuan in compensation.

The 28-year-old plaintiff was dismissed from his position at a health inspection company, Ciming Checkup, in April 2015 after only one week of employment. Mr. C and his lawyer filed the case on March 7, and the case was accepted by the court on March 14. The two parties participated in mediation on March 30, followed by a first hearing on April 11 and a second hearing on April 29. Both hearings were closed to the public.

Additional reporting by Qian Jinghua.

(Header image: Mr. C at the labor arbitration court of Yunyang District in Guiyang, Guizhou province, April 11, 2016. Wang Bei/VCG)