Chinese hepatitis B carrier asked to quit job after company medical reveals he has virus

18-Jan-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A man in southern China who carries the hepatitis B virus was asked to quit his post 10 days after he started work, a newspaper reported on Monday.

The 30-year-old, identified only by his surname Li, said the company withdrew his contract after a medical examination showed that he carries the virus, the Xiaoxiang Morning Post said.

The decision was made for the sake of employees, as they shared a canteen and kitchen utensils, the company, a branch of state-owned People’s Insurance Company of China, said.

Li started at the Liuyang branch in central Hunan province on January 2, and his meeting with management to sign a contract in the province’s capital city, Changsha, was scheduled for January 10.

Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver and can result in mild illness lasting a few weeks or a serious condition. The virus is spread by bodily fluids, but not by sneezes, coughing, hugging, or breastfeeding.

There is no cure, although therapies to control viral replication and to minimise mother-to-child transmission are available, according to a study in medical journal Lancet last year.

There are more than 90 million chronic carriers of hepatitis B in China, accounting for about a third of the global total, according to the World Health Organization.

It is not the first case of hepatitis B discrimination in a Chinese workplace. In 2017, a 25-year-old woman surnamed Li was rejected by a company in Changsha, Hunan province, for carrying the virus.

She sued the company but a settlement worth 5,000 yuan (US$740) was agreed in August that year.

Hunan-based lawyer Wang Youhua said discrimination against hepatitis B carriers was illegal in China, except in special industries such as food processing.

It was not clear whether Li would bring a lawsuit against the company. People’s Insurance said it might assign him a different post within the firm.


Category: China

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