By Liang Yanling(Linda)  Wang Zhaogang  King&Wood Mallesons’ Labor Group

untitledThose who watch Hollywood films and American television shows will be familiar with the following scene: A hapless employee is informed of his termination by his boss and must immediately pack up his things and leave the office. The employee is then seen leaving, carrying a Bankers Box, possibly engendering sympathy from the audience. Chinese films do not typically show such scenes because in China, employers are not allowed to fire someone at-will in this manner.

Unlike At-Will Employment as found in the US context, Chinese law stipulates select grounds under which employers are allowed to dismiss their employees. Regardless of the number of employees terminated, whether it is one layoff or a mass layoff, the employer shall either reach a consensus on mutual termination with the employee(s) through consultation, or unilaterally terminate the employees under certain circumstances in accordance with relevant clauses in the law. In a mass layoff, employers may use both mutual consultation and unilateral termination. For instance, the employer may consider unilateral termination if the previous attempt to reach a mutual termination has failed.
Continue Reading How to Determine the Legal Ground for a Layoff: What You Need to Know——Article 1 in a series on layoffs