First successful sexual harassment lawsuit in Guangzhou
[The 3 photos taken at the year-end party by Miss A’s colleagues which were later used as critical evidence in her lawsuit against the Japanese molester. ]
Miss A worked in a Japanese company. From September 2008, her Japanese supervisor started to sexually harass her by touching her body, like her neck and her waist. After she rejected him, he complained to A that he thinks she is too cool. "I feel extremely stressed at the time and was afraid to go to work."
Miss A worked in a open office. What the accused Japanese supervisor has done to her is seen by the colleagues around. "Some of them took this as a joke, others taught me how to defend myself." She started to have nightmares. "There was time when I was engaged in my work and he suddenly came from behind and put his hand on me. I always trembled from fear."
Many of Miss A’s families and colleagues knew about what her Japanese supervisor was doing to her but all of them persuaded Miss A to put up with it and stay silent. And that’s what A chose to do until the end of 2008 when she couldn’t stand it anymore.
It was the company’s year-end party. Staff in the company took turns to sing on the stage. A was chatting with her colleagues and all of a sudden, the Japanese supervisor came from behind and grabbed her hands and then touched her chest. She started to struggle but he used another hand around her neck. "I couldn’t breathe at the time and begged him to let go of me in Chinese and in Japanese. I even screamed for help. I finally broke loose but he then chased after me around the table. I was so scared that my legs went all weak.
"Then it was his turn to sing. He cried out my name on stage and I was terrified. He spotted me on the stage and came up to me. He tried to hug me, put his hand round my neck and touch my chest. He grabbed me so hard that my arms were black and blue. At the end I could do nothing but held tight to the chair. He tried to drag me away but he couldn’t."
After that terrible night, A cried for two days at home. This time, her families encouraged her to stand up against him. In January 2009, A complained to the general manager and requested that the Japanese supervisor should publish a written apology and the company offer her a guarantee that she will not be harassed again. The company held a meeting with 4 Japanese staff and two Chinese labor union committee members present. But the result was disappointing. The general manager admitted what the offender did was wrong but reclined A’s requests by saying that the accused Japanese touched her body is out of kindness and he drank too much at the party. If he had to make a written apology that would stain his image.
The offender defended himself and said, he touched Miss A in the hope of doing better at work but it just didn’t turn out as he wished, "I apologize for the harm I had done to you. I didn’t consider the difference in the environment we grew up into. I wasn’t being considerate about your feelings."
But what is most disappointing to A is the two Chinese in the labor union who instead of standing up for her, defended the offender and said, "The general manager is very busy, he is condescending himself to hold this meeting for you." One of them even claimed to fire her.
Miss A was later fired. On March 2011, she filed a lawsuit against the offender and the company. With the 3 photos taken by the colleagues as evidence, she finally won the case. The Japanese offender is convicted of sexual harassment.
This is the first successful lawsuit on sexual harassment in Guangzhou. Before it, most of the sexual harassment cases failed for lack of evidence.
The case had triggered a heated discussion among the Chinese netizens. While many condemn the Japanese offender, more denounce the two Chinese labor union committee members as being stooges for the Japanese company.