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Visa error leaves chef with a bitter taste

A CITY hotel has been ordered to pay a French chef about 10,000 yuan (US$1,460), a district court ruled in a labor dispute yesterday.

But the award was a 10th of what the chef had demanded.

The bulk of the claim was rejected because Frenchman Jean-Rene Masson did not get his work permit updated after changing jobs, the Jing'an District People's Court ruled.

As a result, the chef had to be considered a temporary employee of Cyrus (Shanghai) Hotel Management Co Ltd and couldn't have his rights protected.

Masson started work in a French restaurant in June 2007 and got a work permit from the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

A few months later he took a job as an executive chef for Cyrus at 25,000 yuan a month. But he didn't inform the bureau of the change of details for them to alter his work permit.

Masson returned to France to extend his working visa on June 1, 2008, and had been paid up till then. But his application for a working visa was rejected because he couldn't provide a work permit in the name of his new employer.

Masson returned to Shanghai on a travel visa on July 22, 2008, only to be told the hotel had decided not to continue his employment. The chef then asked Cyrus to pay him holiday pay and compensation for terminating his employment.

He filed a lawsuit asking for a total of 100,000 yuan.

He told the court Cyrus had agreed to pay him 20 days' pay when he went back to France to extend the visa. Since he was a legal employee of Cyrus, it should also pay him wages from June to August 2008 and a month's salary as compensation for terminating his employment, he said.

Cyrus argued that Masson was a temporary employee because his work permit didn't state it was his employer and he should not be protected by the Labor Law. It also denied giving Masson time off for a vacation since he hadn't worked at the hotel for a year.

The court ruled that the employment agreement between the two sides should have ended on June 14, 2008, when Masson's visa expired.

For the last two weeks of that agreement, Masson was in France trying to get a work visa and kept Cyrus informed by email so he should still be considered an employee and Cyrus should pay him his wages for those two weeks, the court ruled.

Since Masson's work permit was not in the name of Cyrus, his rights couldn't be asserted.


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