Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

Liang v. Guangdong Huishijia Economic Development Co. Ltd. Intermediate People's Court of Guangzhou Municipality (2016)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff sued the defendants for infringing upon her right to employment equality. The plaintiff alleged that the online advertisement posted by the defendants, to which Liang responded, required kitchen apprentices to be “men between the ages of 18 and 25.” The plaintiff further alleged that when she went to the restaurant, the receptionist informed her of the restaurant’s policy that “all employees in the kitchen should be men, even if a woman possesses the qualifications of a chef.” The plaintiff alleged that the defendants’ behavior violates Articles XII and XIII of the People’s Republic of China’s Employment Law, which provide that potential employees should not be discriminated against on the bases of ethnicity, race, sex, and religious beliefs. As relief, the plaintiff requested (1) an official apology from the defendants; (2) 21 Chinese yuan in damages for costs incurred by responding to the advertisement; and (3) 40,800 Chinese yuan in damages for emotional distress. The court of first instance held that the defendants’ actions constituted gender-based discrimination against the plaintiff. However, it found insufficient evidence for the plaintiff’s emotional distress and awarded 2,000 Chinese yuan in damages. It also denied Liang’s request for an official apology. Both the plaintiff and defendants appealed.  Relying on the explicit requirement in the advertisement and the receptionist’s explanations that the candidate be a man, the Intermediate People’s Court held that the defendants’ exclusion based on the plaintiff’s gender was unlawful and unreasonable and constituted gender-based employment discrimination. With respect to relief, the Intermediate People’s Court held that under the Supreme People’s Court’s interpretations, emotional distress normally should not be compensated in monetary terms unless there are severe consequences.  The Intermediate People’s Court held that compensation of 2,000 Chinese yuan was within the discretion of the lower court, and thus upheld the amount. The Intermediate People’s Court, however ordered the defendants to issue an official apology to the plaintiff in newspapers in the Guangzhou area.

Caeiro v. Tecnosolar S.A., Case No. SEF-0013-000001/2015 Labor Appeals Court 2ºT (2015)

Employment discrimination, Sexual harassment

Fernanda Caeiro (Plaintiff) sued Tecnosolar S.A. (Defendant) in civil labor court for damages suffered because of sexual harassment in the workplace.  Plaintiff was an employee of defendant for 13 years and always had good performance reviews and was even promoted. One of the company’s directors, Mr. Gustavo Capurro, continuously harassed her in the workplace for over two years even though Plaintiff rejected his propositions.  Over the course of those two years, Mr. Capurro sent several inappropriate text messages and emails to Plaintiff. Plaintiff never responded to these messages.  On one occasion, he sent an email with more than 70 pictures of sexual content to Plaintiff. After this occurrence, Plaintiff filed a formal complaint with one of the company’s executives who asked Mr. Capurro to apologize but did not take any additional action against him.  Plaintiff quit her job and sued her employer for sexual harassment in the work place.  The Trial Court ruled in favor of Plaintiff and awarded her UR$ 880.272 pesos and a 10% administrative fine against Defendant.  Defendant appealed, arguing there was not enough evidence to find for Plaintiff and that, if anything, Plaintiff had consented to Mr. Capurro’s advancements. The Appeals Court analyzed all the unanswered harassing emails and messages sent by Mr. Capurro to Plaintiff and determined the appeal had no basis.  The court determined that Mr. Capurro’s conduct qualified as sexual harassment in the workplace per the definition included in Law No. 18.561 and that his conduct had effectively created a hostile work environment for Plaintiff that had forced her to quit her job.  Therefore, The Appeals Court affirmed the Trial Court’s award.

Richardson v. Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd Federal Court of Australia (2014)

Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Rebecca Richardson brought a sexual harassment suit against a former co-worker, Randol Tucker. Before Richardson left the company, Richardson and Tucker were colleagues at Oracle Corporation Australia. At trial, Ms. Richardson prevailed and was awarded $18,000 in damages for which Oracle Corporation Australia was vicariously liable. Ms. Richardson appealed, arguing that the award was inadequate. The High Court highlighted the difficulty in formulating awards of general damages in sex discrimination cases, but acknowledged that harassment can cause severe physical and mental strain. The Court noted that more significant awards were granted to the victims of workplace bullying than the victims of sexual harassment despite “comparable” damage caused by both types of conduct. Based on the distress Richardson experienced because of Tucker’s conduct, the Federal Court found that the $18,000 award was inadequate and substituted an award of $100,000 to compensate Ms. Richardson for psychological injury caused by the sexual harassment.

EN v. KIC Human Rights Review Tribunal (2010)

Sexual harassment

The plaintiff was employed at a bakery. After working there for several years, the bakery was acquired by new owners, including the defendant. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant made unwanted comments and physical overtures in the workplace, eventually causing the plaintiff to leave the job. The plaintiff claimed that the harassment caused humiliation, injury to feelings, and loss of dignity. The Tribunal found that the plaintiff was the victim of unlawful sexual harassment under the Human Rights Act and awarded damages. The Tribunal also ordered the defendant to attend a training session on sexual harassment in the workplace. The Tribunal noted that the case “demonstrates the dangers of running a business without any understanding of the provisions of the HRA relating to sexual harassment, and with no insight whatsoever that some behaviours can be unwelcome to others no matter how innocent they may be thought by the perpetrator to be.”

KKO 2003:76 Supreme Court of Finland (2003)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The issue was whether plaintiff was entitled to compensation for anguish in connection with intimate partner violence. A (male) had assaulted E (female) in E's home and on the staircase in a way that caused brain injury and severe traumatic stress. The District Court and the Court of Appeal sentenced A for an aggravated assault and ordered A to pay damages for pain and suffering for 20,000 Finnish marks. The Courts rejected demands for compensation on anguish. The question before the Supreme Court was about the amount of damages and if E was entitled to damages arising from anguish. The Supreme Court evaluated the pain and suffering as a whole and ordered A to pay 14,000 Euros of damages. In court practice (rulings KKO 1989:141 and KKO 1999:102) an assault has not been held as an act that justifies damages on mental anguish. According to Chapter 5 Section 6 of the Finnish Tort Liability Act (412/1974, as amended) (the "Tort Liability Act"), the provisions of the Tort Liability Act on personal injury apply also to damages for the anguish arising from an offense against liberty, honour or the domestic peace or from another comparable offense. The Court held that since A broke into E's apartment, E was entitled to damages arising from offense against domestic peace which could be seen causing anguish. The Court ruled that A had to pay damages for anguish in the amount of 500 Euros.