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Bank Sex Discrimination Case to Continue

A woman who lost a sex discrimination case against her former employer at a local labor dispute arbitration committee on October 17 said yesterday she had filed her case with a local court. Her law postgraduate son said the committee's ruling had been the result of applying inappropriate laws.


Zhou Xianghua said her case is due to be heard on December 9 at Zhanhe District People's Court in the prefecture of Pingdingshan in Henan Province, and that she had decided to go ahead with it only after careful consideration.


Zhou, now 56 years old, became a clerk at the Pingdingshan Branch of China Construction Bank (CCB) in 1989 and chief teller three years later. In January, she was instructed to retire, but she said she hoped to retire at the age of 60 as male employees did.


The CCB refused, citing state regulations. Liu Xinhua, director of the branch's personnel office, said the decision abided by the Provisional Regulations on the Resettlement of Old and Weak Cadres, promulgated by the State Council, China's cabinet, in 1978.


According to these, the age of retirement for women employees is five years less than that for men; 50 and 55 for blue-collar workers, 55 and 60 for cadres.


After negotiations failed, Zhou filed a complaint on August 23 with Pingdingshan's labor dispute arbitration committee.


The committee ruled that Zhou had failed to provide sufficient evidence and legal basis to support her case and that it was unable to judge whether state regulations run contrary to the Constitution, Labor Law or international conventions signed by the government.


It said she would have to bear the total arbitral fee of 420 yuan (US$52).


Zhou's son, Li Hao, is assisting her with her case.


(Xinhua News Agency November 15, 2005)

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