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December 2, 2010

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Parlor couple say laser eye injury not their fault

MANAGERS of a city beauty parlor argued in court yesterday that they are not liable for an accident with a laser machine that left a beautician almost blind in one eye.

The married couple who run the salon on Ronghua Avenue E. said that as they hadn't signed a labor contract with Shao Xinghong, she was not an employee of the salon.

Therefore, they should not be expected to pay her compensation, said Chen Yongjin and his wife Zhang Na.

They also told an appeal hearing at Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court that they were not the owners of the salon.

In an earlier court hearing at Changning District People's Court, Chen and Zhang were ordered to pay 72,000 yuan (US$10,778) in compensation to Shao for industrial injury.

Shao, 38, a migrant worker from Zhejiang Province, told the appeal hearing that her friend, Guo Mei, an employee of the salon, suggested she work as a beautician there.

She didn't sign a labor contract, agreeing verbally that her monthly salary would be 1,500 yuan plus bonus.

1st working day

On her first working day on September 1, 2009, Zhang asked Shao to observe Guo perform laser treatment on a customer. Lasers are often used in skin lightening procedures.

However, as she operated the machine, Guo accidentally burned Shao's left eye.

At first, Shao was unconcerned, even though she could not see clearly, and went to work the next day. But after three days she went to hospital and was told she was almost blind in her left eye, and that her vision would not recover.

Shao asked for 170,000 yuan in compensation from Zhang and Chen, claiming that she was injured while working for them.

The couple denied that Shao was a salon employee and claimed they didn't know how she had injured her eye.

The district court found the salon wasn't registered and believed that the couple owned the salon, based on the testimony of employees.

And even though there was no labor contract, Shao was injured while working for the salon and should get compensation from her employers, the district court had ruled.

The appeal court did not announce a final verdict.


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