Case Information:

Plaintiff: Zhang Yanhong

Defendant:Qingshui (Beijing) Stage Design Co., Ltd.

Court: Beijing Chaoyang District People’s Court

Case Ref.: [2013] Chao Min Chu Zi No. 09097

Key Points of the Judgment:

When determining whether an employer has violated Employment Contract Law by not signing a fixed employment period with the employee, the court focused on whether there were unenforceable circumstances on the fixed employment period, such as violations of the true agreements. In the event there are no unenforceable circumstances, the court will recognize the employment contract between the parties as enforceable. In the event that the employers did not engage in illegal acts, they are not liable of paying twice the wages for the period that a fixed employment contract was not signed.

Key Facts:

Qingshui (Beijing) Stage Design Co., Ltd. (the "Company") was established on May 11th, 2007. Zhang Yanhong has been employed at the company since its establishment, serving the positions including assistant of general manager. Zhang Yanhong signed 7 fixed-term employment contracts with the company during this period, the last fixed employment contract was for the period of June 1, 2011 to May 30th, 2014.

On November 22, 2012, Zhang Yanhong filed an arbitration petition with Beijing Chaoyang District Labor Dispute Arbitration Committee, requesting for the company to pay twice the wages for the period of September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2012, for which the company failed to sign a fixed employment contract. On January 24, 2013, the Chaoyang Arbitration Committee made a decision and dismissed Zhang Yanhong’s arbitration request. Zhang Yanhong filed a complaint with Beijing Chaoyang People’s Court.

Judgment:

Zhang Yanhong’s claim dismissed.

Reasoning:

  1. There were two consecutive fixed employment contracts, and there were no circumstances outside of the law. The employee raised the issue that on top of the fixed term employment contracts, employment contracts without fixed terms shall also be signed;
  2. In this case, Zhang Yanhong has signed 7 fixed term employment contracts with the company. There is no evidence to show that the 7 fixed term employment contracts signed by Zhang Yanhong had ulterior meaning. Therefore, the above-described rules of the Employment contract Law are not applicable in this case.

Source: Judicial Opinions Website

KWM Comments: If an employer has concluded two consecutive fixed-term employment contracts with an employee and continue to enter into fixed term employment contract with the employee, such contract should be valid, unless there are circumstances rendering the contract void.