Fubon Securities accused of discrimination

WORKERS' RIGHTS: Two lawmakers said that the company had unfairly dismissed a woman with impaired hearing after assigning her to a job that required listening skills

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Sep 01, 2006 - Page 2

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Wang Jung-chang (王榮璋) and Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) on Wednesday joined workers' rights groups in accusing Fubon Securities of discrimination against physically disadvantaged employees.

Wang said at a press conference that Fubon Securities had unreasonably laid off an employee who suffers from mild hearing impairment last June.

According to Wang, the company first transferred the employee, surnamed Chiang, from its human resources department to its legal affairs office, without offering her further legal training.

He said that the company then made things even more difficult for Chiang by asking her to be responsible for jobs involving a lot of spoken communication and assigning her a hefty workload.

The company then laid her off, citing incompetence, Wang said.

Chiang filed complaints to the Gender Discrimination Review Committee at the Taipei City labor department, but the company has shown no sincerity in resolving the dispute, Wang said.

Although the labor department ruled against Fubon at the end of June, the company cannot be legally compelled to compensate her, Hsieh said.

Wang added that the Fubon Financial Holding Company did not employ as many disadvantaged people as required by the Welfare Regulations for the Mentally and Physically Disadvantaged (身心障礙保護法), according to which at least 1 percent of the job openings in private companies should be filled by disadvantaged employees.

Wang Yu-ling (王幼玲), deputy secretary-general of Enabled, an alliance of rights groups for disadvantaged people, said that neither Fubon Insurance nor Fubon Life met the employment requirement.

Wang Yu-ling, a former top official in the city's labor department, said it was employers' responsibility to provide the necessary equipment or adjust job requirements for disabled employees.

Wang Jung-chang said that if Fubon Securities did not respond in good faith, he and Hsieh would present a proposal at the Legislative Yuan session to withdraw public funds from Taipei Fubon Bank, in which it owns a significant stake.

He added that the case should serve as a lesson for Chinatrust, which will take over the administration of the national lottery next year, to remember its public responsibility.

Wang Jung-chang said that he and Hsieh would help Chiang appeal to the Council of Labor Affairs.

Cheng Chih-hsuan (程芝萱), assistant manager of the securities firm's marketing and customer service department, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that Chiang had agreed with the initial job transfer and that her work at the legal office had not required professional legal knowledge.

She added that Chiang's supervisor had warned her about falling behind with her duties before firing her.

The company is also in possession of a document signed by Chiang in which she admits making mistakes at work, Cheng said.

Cheng added that Fubon was complying with the employment requirements stated in the Welfare Regulations for the Mentally and Physically Disadvantaged, and that the company was considering an appeal against the labor department's ruling.