The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) is facing criticism amid allegations of discrimination against a foreign employee and the implementation of internal security rules that allow monitoring of employees’ movement and Internet activity.
At the heart of the criticism is the case of Bo Tedards, who was removed from his duties as director of the foundation’s International Cooperation Department and reassigned as a researcher after returning from eight months of parental leave in January last year.
Tedards filed a complaint with Taipei City’s Department of Labor, claiming he had been discriminated against under the Gender Equality and Employment Act (性別工作平等法). He won his case, with the department fining the foundation NT$50,000 in August last year.
Department of Labor Commissioner Chen Yeh-hsin (陳業鑫) said after the ruling that an investigation by the department showed that Tedards’ transfer was related to his parental leave, adding that Tedards’ work contract had him down as director, contradicting claims by the foundation that he had always been a researcher and was concurrently a director.
TFD director Huang Teh-fu (黃德福), who had informed Tedards of his demotion — which came with a NT$10,000 reduction in salary — denied the reassignment had anything to do with Tedards’ parental leave and launched an administrative appeal with the Council of Labor Affairs.
After the council turned down the appeal on Jan. 20, Huang initiated legal action at the Administrative High Court against the city government.
Although such legal wrangling is not uncommon, the Taiwan Women’s Link and the Taiwan Labor Front, which rallied in support of Tedards, told a press conference on Friday that as a semi--governmental organization that supports freedom, human rights and democracy, the foundation should set an example rather than trample on the rights of its employees.
The groups said Tedards’ case served as a marker of the various kinds of discriminatory acts in the workplace, adding that the foundation should immediately restore Tedards to his old position and cease all legal action.
Tedards, who has worked full-time at the foundation since 2006, says that since his demotion last year, he has felt marginalized and excluded from any important work. He attributes the situation to the foundation knowing it has no legal basis for firing him.
Describing Huang’s appeal as practically unwinnable, Tedards called on the foundation to put things in perspective.
“Dr Huang should take a step back and consider the larger picture and the image of the foundation,” he told the Taipei Times yesterday.
Rather than pursuing a lost cause, “he should be more concerned about the impact on the foundation’s reputation,” Tedards said.
Since early last year, the foundation has also implemented a series of new regulations to keep tabs on its employees. Starting on Jan. 1 last year, all incoming and outgoing e-mails to TDF accounts are now automatically copied, a source told the Taipei Times. Sometime in the middle of 2010, a new electronic key for the foundation’s main door was allegedly installed, which logs employees who are now forced to swipe their cards in the morning, the afternoon and during lunchtime.
Starting on April 2, all visitors to the building must now officially register, and on April 12, employees were asked to create personal usernames and passwords to enable tracking of printing and copying. The foundation said the last measure was to save electricity.
There has also been talk that the foundation can track all Internet usage by its employees, though no official announcement of such a policy has been made.
Major revisions have also been made to internal labor regulations, which came into force on Nov. 1 last year. Those include a downward adjustment of benefits for employees from near-civil-servant levels to the minimum allowed under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).
With additional translation by Jake Chung
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine