Gender News in Taiwan
Fines for Violating Gender Equality Act

【By Sean  Lin】

Three Taipei companies have been fined a total of NT$820,000 for violating gender equality in the workplace, the Taipei Department of Labor said yesterday.

Department division chief Liu Chia-hung said that Magic Dentist in Zhongshan District; Chuan Lian Enterprise Co , which operates the Pxmart supermarket chain; and Red Bean Dining Group, owned by Chinese Nationalist Party Central Standing Committee member Sean Lien’s wife, Patty Tsai, were fined for violating the Act of Gender Equality in Employment.

Magic Dentist laid off an employee who took maternity leave; it was fined NT$20,000, Liu said.

Red Bean Dining Group was fined NT$500,000 because it had not set policies to prevent sexual harassment on its premises, a requirement set for firms with at least 30 employees, he said.

Its management did not take any action against cases of sexual harassment after learning about such incidents, and when an employee complained about being sexually harassed, the management suspended that person, also violations of the act, Liu said.

Chuan Lian was fined NT$300,000 because it refused to explain to a male job applicant, who told his interviewer that he identified as a woman, why he was not hired, Liu said.

The man told the interviewer that he hoped to be able to retain his long hair if hired, and he would keep it tied up at work as female employees do, Liu said.

The company refused to respond when asked why it did not hire him, Liu said.

Under the act, companies must give applicants with differing sexual orientations the reason that they were not recruited if the applicants asks for such information, Liu said, adding that denying this type of information amounts to sexual discrimination.

Department division chief Ho Hung-cheng said that apart from certain professions that require employees to have short hair for work-related reasons — such as cooks who must meet sanitary regulations — firms that arbitrarily set rules targeting men with long hair, or those bordering on any form of discrimination, including appearance, political affiliation or religion, are in violation of the Employment Service Act.

In most cases, firing employees who prefer to wear long hair for any reason is considered exploiting gender stereotypes, which is also punishable under the law, Ho said.

[Taipei Times, 2016-06-06]

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