On May 16 2012 the Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court ruled in favour of a pregnant employee who was dismissed for lying about her marital status in her job application. The company was ordered to reinstate the employee and back-pay her salary for the period between the wrongful termination and reinstatement.

In this case, the employee signed an employment registration form and indicated on the form that she was not married. After she was hired, she applied for two weeks' leave for pregnancy and submitted a doctor's note and her marriage certificate as supporting documents. The company opined that the employee's concealment of her marital status constituted deception and thus terminated the employee on the ground of violation of the employment contract and company policy.

However, both the local labour arbitration commission and the court held that this constituted wrongful termination and ordered the company to reinstate the employee. The court held that her marital status was not directly relevant to the employment contract and did not affect work efficiency or business operations. The court also relied on the fact that the company did not stipulate during the recruitment process that a candidate's marital status would be relevant to the job. Therefore, the court held that the employee's lying about her marital status should not be deemed a serious violation of company rules and decided against the company.

This case demonstrates that Chinese courts may not uphold summary termination for providing false personal information during the recruitment process if such information is not deemed immediately relevant to the employment contract and its performance.

For further information on this topic please contact Andreas Lauffs or Jonathan Isaacs at Baker & McKenzie's Hong Kong office by telephone (+852 2846 1888), fax (+852 2845 0476) or email (andreas.lauffs@bakermckenzie.com or jonathan.isaacs@bakermckenzie.com).

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