transgender woman in Zhejiang province says she was fired from her job after she underwent gender reassignment surgery and is now taking the matter to court.
The woman, identified as Xiao Ma, says that she had the surgery in October 2018. A few months later, she did not receive her usual Spring Festival bonus from the Hangzhou-based company where she had worked for several years. In February, she instead received an email notifying her that she had been fired.
Believing that the company violated her rights for equal employment, Xiao Ma filed a lawsuit against her former employer which was accepted by a court in Hangzhou’s Binjiang district.
The trial was held on Tuesday with the company arguing that it had not fired Xiao Ma because of her gender reassignment surgery but because she was often late to work, showing evidence of her poor attendance record and of other employees in the past being fired for the same reason.
For her part, however, Xiao Ma, maintains that the company fired her for her gender identity, noting that her coworkers arrived late multiple times in January and yet were not sacked like she was.
The case is one of the first of its kind in China following a ruling in 2016 in Guizhou province where a transgender man said he was fired from his job as a sales consultant after a manager told him that he looked “like a lesbian” and ran the risk of harming the company’s reputation.
In the end, the labor dispute board that heard the case awarded the man his unpaid wages but dismissed the claim that he was fired because of his gender identity.