Complaints are rising about many state-owned enterprises enforcing an obsolete and illegal law forcing a husband or wife to leave their jobs if their spouse quits the firm. Because of the rule, a happily married couple working for a company in Hunan province recently divorced so one of them could keep their job after the other left the company. The couple told a newspaper that they were afraid to give their full names or that of the company. They say they plan to remarry after the husband's resignation is accepted, but until then their position remains insecure. The couple, named Liu and Lin, began working at the state-owned firm in Zhuzhou after graduating from university in 1996. After seven years at the company, Mr Lin was offered a position with a foreign firm in Guangdong. The couple decided the new job was too good to turn down, but when Mr Lin informed his employer of his decision to resign, he was told it was company policy that his wife would be fired if he left. To get around the regulations and help Ms Liu to keep her job, the couple was forced into a divorce neither wanted. The day their divorce came through, Ms Liu rang the local newspaper, the Sanxiang City News. 'I can't believe I had to divorce my husband to keep my job. It's ridiculous,' she was quoted as saying. 'It's unfair but the company officials insisted that if my husband left I would have to leave with him. We tried negotiating but they wouldn't budge.' Zhu Hedi, a leading member of the Beijing Lawyers' Association Labour Law Committee, said such policies were illegal. 'The national labour law protects against unfair dismissal,' he said. 'People facing such dismissals are entitled to take their complaints to their local labour arbitration committee. And if they are dissatisfied with the result, they should sue their employers.'