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Company requires underperforming employees to eat live worms

(People's Daily Online)    17:29, November 11, 2016

A home furnishing store has inflicted a bizarre punishment on its employees: requiring them to eat live yellow mealworms in public.

At around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8, approximately 50 people wearing store uniforms gathered in a square in downtown Hanzhong, Shaanxi province. Soon, a man arrived with two bags in his hands. One bag contained chopsticks, cups and two bottles of liquor; the other contained live yellow mealworms. After reading off the names of underperforming employees, the man poured some liquor into each cup, added a worm, and then asked employees to drink the liquor. Five or six people accepted the man's instructions and drank the liquor.

According to a store employee, workers are required each morning to report their work objective to the supervisor, and those who fail to meet their objective are punished the following day.

"Today's punishment is eating worms they bought from a pet market. Four worms for losing one customer," explained an employee.

On Nov. 10, a local newspaper reporter interviewed Mr. Cao, the man in charge.

"We set sales targets for the next day and everyone signs a guarantee. If anyone fails to achieve the target, he or she will accept the punishment voluntarily," Cao said. "The targets are set by employees, with the purpose of self-motivation."

However, some citizens who observed the event expressed a different view. They said the company ought to respect its employees instead of resorting to demeaning punishments. Zhao Xiaodong, a local lawyer, noted that forcing employees to eat live worms infringes upon the employees' rights, giving them just cause to report the violation to labor inspection departments. 

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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