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Man sues to obtain gov't job

By He Dan and Ma Chenguang (China Daily)

08:36, June 07, 2012

The mainland's first trial over discrimination against disabled job applicants in public service employment opened in Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui province, on Wednesday, without reaching a result.

The plaintiff, Xuan Hai, who suffers from severe visual impairment, sued the provincial labor authorities for failing to provide practical assistance for him to write the national public servant exam in 2011. He was rejected from taking a provincial level civil service employment exam in March because of his poor eyesight.

The No 5 People's Court of Luyang district did not declare a verdict at the end of the hearing, which lasted more than two and a half hours on Wednesday afternoon.

Xuan Hai and his attorney Zheng Jineng were in court.

Leng Jing, a notary staff from the department of human resources and social security of Anhui province, and the department's lawyer, Meng Chao, were also in court.

Xuan said he sought assistance from the department to help him take a national civil service exam last November after he passed the online application procedure.

"I called the department to explain my situation in advance, but I was so disappointed when I arrived at the examination room on Nov 27 as the only help the exam organizer offered was two magnifying glasses," he said.

"They told me there was no time to prepare digital exam papers as all of the papers cannot be unsealed before the exam got started, and they also denied to offer a scribe, giving the reason that there was no extra room to separate me from other candidates," he said.

Xuan said he decided to give it a try with the help a visual aid he brought. However, he only managed to finish 11 of the 135 questions in the set two hours. "The reason I completed so little was not because the questions are difficult, but because I worked really slow as I could barely see the questions clearly," he said.

Meng, the defense attorney, said the labor department offered magnifying glasses and guided him to the examination room. He also stressed that the country's civil servant law stipulates that public servants should be physically capable of fulfilling their duties.

Xuan, with his visual impairment, did not meet the recruitment requirements. Therefore, the exam organizers did not have the obligation to prepare exam papers in Braille script or offer the help of a scribe, he said. Xuan asked the Anhui provincial government for an administrative review of the case.

He demanded a public apology from the provincial department of human resources and social security and asked the latter to enact regulations to provide sufficient help for the disabled to attend any employment exams in the future.

However, the local government refused his request. Xuan completed the online registration procedure for a provincial civil service employment exam in March but didn't pass.

Zheng, Xuan's lawyer, argued that the labor department broke the law when it disqualified the plaintiff based on the eyesight conditions he described online rather than a physical examination from a medical institution.

"I am not sure that I can win the case, but I will apply for the civil servant recruitment exam again and again until I succeed," he said.

The 27-year-old massage therapist said that his sight has worsened in both eyes since high school, and became blurred after he attended university. Xuan had a difficult time find-ing a job because of his blind-ness, and the young man had to go back to a vocational school to learn massaging.

Lu Yiguang, dean of the Special Education College at Changchun University, urged government departments to boost the employment of people with disabilities in public service sectors.

"If the government can't facilitate the disabled to work, how can you expect companies or other employers in society to do so," he said.


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