Understanding Employment Discrimination Litigation in China Through the Notion of ‘Rights Apathy’

18 Marquette Benefits & Social Welfare Law Review 141 (2016)

22 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2016 Last revised: 10 Oct 2017

See all articles by Sheera Chan

Sheera Chan

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Mimi Zou

University of Oxford

Date Written: July 20, 2016

Abstract

The psycho-legal concept of ‘rights apathy’ is developed in this paper as an underlying factor of the very low incidence of workplace discrimination lawsuits filed in China, despite an increasingly elaborate legal framework on paper and workers’ rising awareness of their legal rights under anti-discrimination laws. ‘Rights apathy’ is underpinned by the notions of ‘frustration’ and ‘learned helplessness’ to depict the indifference of workers in exercising their legal rights before a tribunal or court. It is argued that a number of institutional problems, namely defects in existing anti-discrimination provisions, judicial practices, and contradictions in other laws, policies, and practices, can contribute to the ‘rights apathy’ of workers experiencing discrimination in the workplace.

Keywords: discrimination and equality law, employment discrimination, Chinese law

JEL Classification: J70, K31

Suggested Citation

Chan, Sheera and Zou, Mimi, Understanding Employment Discrimination Litigation in China Through the Notion of ‘Rights Apathy’ (July 20, 2016). 18 Marquette Benefits & Social Welfare Law Review 141 (2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2812115

Sheera Chan

The Chinese University of Hong Kong ( email )

Hong Kong

Mimi Zou (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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