The management at Leshang Decorations Corporation, in the Chongqing province, reportedly forced the workers to eat the vegetable, described as ‘unpleasantly bitter’, as motivation for the employees to meet future targets.
The company ordered the bitter gourds in bulk so that they could use them to punish workers, according to the Shanghaiist.
Reports claim that employees who spat the gourd back out as they were unable to swallow it were forced to eat more of the vegetable.
also reported that a worker who had been subjected to the punishment told them that she had also been made to do push-ups, squats and run around her office building multiple times in the past as punishments from her employer.
A number of photos circulating on Chinese social media appear to show the workers being forced to eat the gourd as others look on.
The incident is not the first report of harsh punishments among workplaces in China. In June, Sina News
reported that a Chinese motivational trainer ‘spanked’ employees of a bank live on stage for “not working hard enough”.
A video purportedly showed the workers ‘crying out in pain’.
On the recent reports, one Weibo user commented: "Employees got spanked last time when they didn't 'exceed themselves,' and now more employees are being forced to eat bitter gourd. Why do Chinese companies take such a liking for punishing their employees?"
Despite the apparent trend for cruel workplace punishments, Chinese labour laws state that employers are held accountable for any damage that they inflict upon their workers.
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40 employees of a company in China were forced to eat gourd, a bitter vegetable, as punishment for not meeting their weekly sales target, Chinese media reports.