Discrimination

China’s New Civil Code and its Impact on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The issue of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement in mainland China has burst into the spotlight again recently. Demonstrators defied restrictions on public protests and mass gatherings to collect outside a Beijing court in December in support of Zhou Xiaoxuan (“Zhou”), a young woman bringing a claim of sexual misconduct against Zhu Jun (“Zhu”), a well-known television presenter. Such cases are relatively rare and the high-profile nature of the man accused has resulted in significant attention within China and beyond. The timing coincides with the new PRC Civil Code taking effect on 1 January 2021. Article 1010 of the Civil Code establishes important new principles on what constitutes sexual harassment, expands the scope of recipients to include men, and introduces specific obligations and potential liability for employers in this area.

Employment Spotlight: Applicability of the Apology Ordinance in the Workplace

Increasingly, there has been a spotlight on issues and complaints which arise in the workplace. Common issues might include complaints relating to harassment, bullying, discrimination and preferential treatment. When tensions run high, an apology is often valuable in helping to diffuse conflict and amend relationships. However, there is often a general reluctance to apologise for fear that it might constitute an admission of fault which might be used against a party in legal proceedings.