Firms help job applicants cheat on physical examinations to avoid discrimination

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/23 19:16:30

Photo: IC

As China's fresh college graduates look to start their careers, companies which can help these young people pass the physical exams many employers require are also looking to hire new staff for the busy season.

These companies have found a market due to discrimination against people with medical issues and the poor protection of supposedly private medical records, experts told the Global Times.

This kind of discrimination and what these firms do to counter it are both illegal, but employees should not "combat one illegal behavior with another illegal behavior," said Hu Xingdou, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology on Monday.

Take care of it

An employee of a Beijing-based firm which claims it can help people pass physical exams told the Global Times on Monday that they usually provide a stand-in for clients, whether they are taking the test individually or as part of a group.

"There are hundreds of people in the hospital, no one will notice," he said, refusing to reveal more details of how the business works, simply saying the company will "take care of everything."

"You should pay 1,200 yuan ($180) if you want us to pass the regular examination," said the employee, "if there are higher standards we will charge you extra accordingly."

The employee also said they can alter examination results, but this costs around 3,000 yuan.

"I promise nothing will go wrong. We will take care of everything," he said when asked how they change results.

He noted that as it is now "employment season," most of their clients are college graduates who have conditions which make it difficult to find a job. 

The company claims that they can provide services in major cities all over China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Ji'nan.

A Beijing bank employee who graduated last year told the Global Times that he needed help to pass the physical exam that the bank demanded as he has medical issues.

"It is hard to find a job like this, and I can not take the risk," said the student who asked for anonymity.

He noted that it is not only those with infectious diseases who face discrimination. Those whose physical results suggest that they may have long-term health problems can find themselves being rejected by potential employers.

"If you want to blame anyone, blame your employer," said the employee from the exam-passing company.

Blind discrimination

"The basic reason for the existence of these companies is job discrimination," said Wang Songjiang, a researcher who specializes in labor relations at the Beijing-based China Institute of Industrial Relations.

Wang said that many employers are fearful that employees with infectious diseases may infect others.

Besides those with infectious diseases, employers also don't want to hire employees with chronic conditions as extended absences can be expensive, said Wang.

In July, the civil service job application of Tan Jingsong, a resident of Yueyang, Central China's Hunan Province was rejected, even though he had excellent exam results, simply because he failed the physical examination, reported the Beijing News on August 22.

Tan previously had surgery to remove cataracts which left him almost blind, said the Beijing News.

Chinese employers are not required to protect employees' health records, so employees with diseases may face discrimination from their colleagues if they are eventually hired, said Hu. 

Legal recourse

"But we should not blame job discrimination alone," said Hu. 

Employers who reject people with infectious diseases when they apply for jobs that involve regular interpersonal contact with customers or colleagues are not breaking the law, Zhao Sanping, chief lawyer of the Beijing Guangheng Law Firm, told the Global Times on Monday.

Companies which fraudulently help people pass physical examinations are also violating the law, said Zhao, adding that both these firms and their clients should be held legally responsible.

"These people's behavior brings damage to their integrity record as some companies require their employees to sign a letter of commitment which says they will tell their employers the truth," said Zhao.

Wang said people should seek legal recourse if they feel they have been discriminated against, rather than breaking the law in response.

Newspaper headline: Medical mischief

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