Kaohsiung investigates restaurant for sacking lesbian

Sacked woman's employer could be looking at fine of up to NT$1.5 million

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Kaohsiung is looking into a case of alleged gender discrimination by a restaurant.

Kaohsiung is looking into a case of alleged gender discrimination by a restaurant. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A restaurant in Kaohsiung City could face a fine of up to NT$1.5 million (US$49,000) after having sacked a lesbian waitress due to her sexual orientation, reports said Friday (Nov. 1).

The incident is one of two similar cases being looked into by the city’s Department of Labor Affairs, which has called on employers to respect diversity and to provide a friendly working environment, CNA reported.

The restaurant had employed a woman who looked “gender-neutral,” the report said, before finding out she was a lesbian. Restaurant management judged she would adversely influence its business, so they laid her off.

The employee took her case to the city authorities, which were in the process of investigating the case, according to CNA.

While the Department of Labor Affairs acknowledged that such cases were difficult to prove, it emphasized that if gender was seen to have played a role in employment, promotion, and pay issues, the employer could be fined from NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million.

Another case also involved a restaurant in Kaohsiung, CNA reported. A new employee initially believed to be a woman turned out to be a man, leading to the employer accusing him of dishonesty. The staff member resigned and took the case to the authorities but later dropped his complaint against the restaurant

Taiwan’s gay rights movement scored a historic victory last May, when the Legislative Yuan voted to legalize same-sex marriage, a first in Asia. On Oct. 26, hundreds of thousands marched in Asia’s largest gay pride parade in Taipei City.