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HB carriers discriminated

MULTINATIONAL firms are still refusing to employ Chinese people with Hepatitis B (HB) virus carriers a year after the enactment of the Employment Promotion Law, a survey has found.

At least 84 percent of the multinational companies surveyed required job applicants to take HB tests and disclose the results, according to the survey by Beijing Yirenping Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to social justice.

The World Health Organization states that the HB virus is primarily transferred through child birth, shared syringes, blood transfusions and sexual contact. The WHO particularly emphasizes the infection is not spread by eating or working with HB virus carriers.

About 44 percent of the multinationals said they refused applicants who had HB, while only 5 percent of the firms do not require applicants to take a test.

The Yirenping Center conducted the survey from October to December with 92 multinational firms in 20 major cities in the Beijing-Tianjin area, Pearl River Delta in southern China and Yangtze River Delta in the eastern coast.

In 2006, before the enactment of the Employment Promotion Law, the center conducted a similar survey, which found that 77 percent of the multinationals refused applicants carrying HB.

While overt discrimination against HB carriers declined from 77 to 44 percent, the percentage of firms that requested the test but claimed the results had no effect on employment rose from 19 percent to 40 percent.

The survey found five multinationals that did not require applicants to take a test: IBM, 3M, Gold Circuit Electronics, Santak Electronics and Carrefour.

In 2007 China's top legislature approved the Employment Promotion Law, which specifically prohibits employers from refusing an applicant on the basis that he carries an infectious disease.

"It is very depressing to find overt and implicit discrimination after the Employment (Promotion) Law has been in effect for one year," said Chen Jun, chief coordinator of the center and a HB carrier.

"Obviously, request of compulsory HB test by those firms is against the law and they applied double standards for their worldwide employment."

Chen said multinationals seldom request applicants to test for HB in their headquarters or other countries and regions. However, in China, they not only require the test but also eliminate HB carriers based on the test's result.





 

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