Reply and Recommendation of Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association to the list of issues on ICCPR
Article 3, ICCPR
Core Document No. 5:
Corporate responsibility relating to human rights
While the corporate sector contributes in many instances to the realization of the rights enshrined in the Covenants, there may also be corporate activities that are detrimental to the enjoyment of these rights. Examples may occur in such matters as unsafe labour conditions, restrictions on trade union rights, discrimination against female workers and migrant workers, corruptive practices. Please provide information on measures taken with regard to the role and impact of the corporate sector on the enjoyment and the realization of the rights included in the Covenants.
Comment and Recommendation(Chinese)
Comment and Recommendation(English)
The traditional interpretation about Art. 3 (ICCPR) is State party shall take positive measures to ensure equal right of men and women. With time gone by, concept of “gender” has been extended to different gender minorities, such as people with different sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV/AIDS and others. Hence, State shall also protect against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV/AIDS and other gender minorities by all means.
In the 15 years of providing telephone counseling service to the LGBTI community in Taiwan, Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association (hereinafter referred to as Hotline) receives 30 calls in average each year about discrimination against sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV issues in workplaces. But in these 15 years, the Taiwanese government has only received and handled 2 cases of complaints on workplace discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity. This is not merely a result of the LGBTI members being scared of filing a complaint to the government due to the social stigma around coming out. More importantly, it shows that the government only passively handles such cases, without taking any active measure to protect the LGBTI members’ employment rights. Although there are clear stipulations in the HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act and the Regulations Governing Protection of the Rights of HIV Patients, that employers are not allowed to include to HIV testing in employment physical examinations for job applicants and employees, many corporations still illegally include HIV testing in their physical examinations on account of the government’s lack of enforcement of the laws.
Hence, Hotline suggests following recommendations:
(1) The protection of gender identity should be included in the anti-discrimination sections of the Employment Services Act (Article 5) and the Act of Gender Equality in Employment (Article 6 Item 1, Article 7 to Article 11).
(2) The government should strengthen the existing complaint and response mechanisms for employment discrimination by taking into consideration the needs of the sexual minorities (i.e. concerns for identity exposure), in order to establish a LGBTI friendly mechanism.
(3) The government should proactively provide incentives and carry out labor inspections to encourage corporations to create an equal and friendly work environment for sexual minorities. Companies those fail to the requirements should be penalized.
(4) The government should prohibit corporations from implementing a dress code based on gender stereotypes. Employers should not be allowed to include employees’ hairstyles and appearance when evaluating their merits.
(5) The government should take proactive measures (i.e. labor inspection and high amount fines) to ban corporations from including HIV testing in physical examinations for job applicants and employees.