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Hepatitis-B Sufferer Files Job Discrimination Suit
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A person who suffers from hepatitis-B has decided to sue a subsidiary of the Taiwan-based computer manufacturer Asus for discrimination.

Chen, 22, told China Daily yesterday that he had been offered a job on December 7, 2005, at Changshuo Technology (Shanghai) Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the leading computer maker Asus, after two rounds of tough interviews, but was later rejected when his health report, which indicted that he was a hepatitis-B carrier, was sent to the company.

"On December 28, the company issued me a notice for breach of contract, which stated clearly that the breach was based on the fact that I am a hepatitis-B carrier," Chen said.

He showed the notice, which included a company logo, to the media before turning it over to a court yesterday.

Chen is demanding 62,800 yuan and a public apology to compensate him for his loss as well as mental suffering. He submitted his indictment and evidence to the Shanghai Nanhui District People's Court, but has not yet heard whether the court would accept the suit.

A judge at the court said Chen would receive an answer in a week. The case is said to be the city's first involving the disease, and one of the few to have been filed in the country though there are an estimated 120 million hepatitis-B carriers in China.

In 2004, a court in Wuhu, in east China's Anhui Province, gave the country's first ruling in a hepatitis-B discrimination case. It decided that a government department in the city had discriminated against Zhang Xianzhu, a recent graduate, by rejecting him because he had hepatitis-B.

And last year, a recent graduate in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, killed an interviewer after he was denied his chance to find a job as a civil servant. The man was said to have received the highest score of all the applicants on the civil service examinations.

"And yet discrimination still exists," Chen said. "It was not the first time I was refused a job for that reason, and I believe I might face more rejections in the future. I hope the case will remind the government about the problem and warn employers of the possible risks (of rejecting someone with hepatitis-B)."

Chen said he knew that some of his friends and schoolmates who had the disease had had similar experiences.

In order to get his current job, Chen asked someone else to take his health check for him. "But my employer found out recently during our annual health check," he said. "I have not been fired yet as I am still on contract, but I am not sure what will happen when it ends."

(China Daily February 28, 2007)

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