Mon, Aug 13, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Company fined for firing woman who married coworker

BITTER HONEYMOON:A couple who met on office hours were told the wife would be fired, but the husband could go on working there as usual

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Department of Labor fined a local company NT$100,000 for firing a female employee for marrying a coworker, establishing the nation’s first case against discrimination of relationships in the workplace.

The female employee, who developed a relationship with an office coworker, married this year. Upon learning of the marriage, the company said policy forbade office relationships and fired the bride, according to the department.

Department of Labor Director Chen Yeh-shin (陳業鑫) said the department began investigating the case after the woman filed a complaint. The company claimed that it fired her because of poor work performance, but failed to provide evidence to back up its claims.

Taipei City’s Gender Employment Equality Committee discussed the case last month and decided that the company had violated Article 11 of the Gender Equality in Employment Act (性別工作平等法), which stipulates that employers should not use marriage as a reason to fire people.

The department said the female employee was working at an investment and research firm. She said the firm had asked her to quit after she told her superintendent about the marriage. However, the firm said her husband could stay at the company.

This was the first employer to be fined for banning office relationships and firing an employee because he or she got married. The department declined to reveal the name of the firm or the identity of the worker.

Chen said firms can transfer workers to other departments if an office relationship develops and affects their performance.

If office relationships affect the performance of employees in the workplace, employers must first inform the employees and give them time to improve their performance before firing them, Chen said.

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