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Teacher fired for cat's cameo awarded $6,000

BBC News 18/08/2022
The cat had jumped into the camera's view five times during a class © Getty Images The cat had jumped into the camera's view five times during a class

An art teacher in China's Guangzhou city won 40,000 yuan ($6,000; £5,000) in an unfair dismissal case over a cat's appearance in her online class.

It happened in June last year during a livestream class by the instructor, known only as Luo.

During the class, Luo's pet cat jumped into the camera's view five times.

The education tech company that ran the virtual classes fired Lou, citing the feline's sudden appearances on screen as a reason.

The company said Luo had taken part in "non-teaching" activities during class, and was also 10 minutes late to a previous class, Guangzhou Daily reported.

Luo appealed the decision in arbitration.

But the company refused to accept the order that it compensate the teacher for unfair dismissal and contested it in court, according to the news report.

Ruling on the case, Judge Liao Yajing from the Guangzhou Tianhe People's Court said that if employers require their staff to work from home, they should not have the same expectations as if they were working in an office, the Central Radio Network reported.

"The employer's rules should not only comply with the laws, but should also be fair and reasonable," she said.

Online classes have become common globally amid lockdowns and school closures during the Covid pandemic.

The same is true in China, where the online education market was estimated to be worth 423 billion yuan ($62,000; £52,000) in 2020, according to data portal Statista.

But a change in policy last year that banned academic tutors from making a profit is estimated to have wiped billions from the value of the country's biggest private education companies.

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