Sat, Jun 07, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Employers accused of discrimination

BREAKING THE LAW:Company application forms asked irrelevant questions, such as whether an applicant is pregnant and sexual orientation, a DPP legislator said

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Yu Mei-nu, second left, joins members of the Alliance for the Oversight of Employment Discrimination at a press conference in Taipei yesterday at which they accused companies of discriminating against applicants based on their answers.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Employers were yesterday condemned for seeking what rights activists called irrelevant information from jobseekers, such as their sexual orientation, marital status, whether they are pregnant, their religion and even when a female job seeker has her period.

Accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), activists held a news conference at the legislature in Taipei yesterday, accusing companies of discriminating against applicants based on their answers.

“This practice is highly inappropriate and is in violation of the Employment Services Act (就業服務法) and the Act of Gender Equality in Employment (性別工作平等法),” Yu said.

“Regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, marital status or religion, these people are capable of work and if you deny them employment based on things that are irrelevant to the job, they may instead become welfare recipients,” she added.

Yu said she had collected job application forms from 34 companies, with most asking questions unrelated to the job.

Intersex, Transgender and Transsexual People Care Association president Abbygail Wu (吳伊婷) said that the group receives many complaints from transgender people, who say they are denied opportunities — and has herself been discriminated against several times.

“There have been many times when I don’t know whether I should check ‘male’ or ‘female’ on the application form, so I leave it blank. The interviewer then asks why I have left it blank,” Wu said. “Why does gender matter for a convenience store cashier or a computer engineer?”

She said that there have been cases where job applicants may “look” different from the gender marked on their ID cards and have been asked whether they are male or female.

“There was one case when a job applicant who ‘looks’ like a woman, but was marked down as a man, was told by the interviewer that he should cut his hair before applying for the job,” Wu said.

A lesbian who wished to be known by her nickname, Dou Dou (豆豆), said that when she applied for an internship at a hotel, she told the interviewer that she did not want to wear a skirt at work, the interviewer agreed, but asked her to use the men’s changing room since she wanted to wear pants.

“However, my supervisor was upset when he saw me in pants. He called a meeting, and said: ‘A man is a man, a woman is a woman, a man should wear pants, and a woman should wear skirts’ and ‘I don’t like gays who are neither man nor woman,’” Dou Dou said.

An official with the Ministry of Labor, Wang Ya-fen (王雅芬), said that asking irrelevant questions on a job application could be discrimination and in violation of the law.

“Anyone who runs into such questions should file a complaint with the local labor authorities, and they will take care of it,” Wang said. “Last year, 185 complaints were filed and 18 were confirmed to be cases of discrimination, with the employers fined.”

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top