Anti-discrimination
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1. What are the major anti-discrimination ordinances in Hong Kong?

The Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Cap. 383) generally stipulates that all persons are equal before the law and the law shall prohibit any discrimination on any ground. This principle is materialized through the enactment of the following four ordinances:

The Sex Discrimination Ordinance ("SDO") and the Disability Discrimination Ordinance ("DDO") were implemented in two phases. The non-employment related provisions came into effect on 20 September 1996. The remaining employment related provisions were brought into force on 20 December 1996.

It is unlawful under the SDO to discriminate against or harass a person on the grounds of sex, marital status or pregnancy in the following areas of activity:

  • employment;
  • education;
  • provision of goods, services or facilities;
  • disposal or management of premises;
  • eligibility to vote for and to be elected or appointed to advisory bodies;
  • participation in clubs;
  • activities of the Government;
  • practising as barristers (any offer of pupilage and training provided to barristers).

Under the DDO, it is unlawful to discriminate against, harass or vilify a person with a disability in public, or discriminate or harass a person on the grounds of disability in the following areas of activity:

  • employment;
  • education;
  • provision of goods, services and facilities;
  • access to premises;
  • disposal or management of premises;
  • participation in clubs and sporting activities;
  • activities of the Government;
  • practising as barristers (any offer of pupilage and training provided to barristers).

Starting from 21 November 1997, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person who has "family status". "Family status" generally means the status of having responsibility for the care of an immediate family member. An "immediate family member", in relation to a person, means someone who is related to the person concerned by blood, marriage, adoption or affinity. The areas of activity for which a person may lodge a complaint under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance ("FSDO") are the same as those under the SDO.

The Race Discrimination Ordinance ("RDO") is an anti-discrimination law enacted in July 2008. The RDO has come into operation since 10 July 2009. Under the RDO, it is unlawful to discriminate, harass or vilify a person on the ground of his/her race in the following areas of activity:

  • employment;
  • education;
  • provision of goods, facilities or services;
  • disposal or management of premises;
  • eligibility to vote for and to stand for election to public bodies, etc;
  • offering of a pupilage or tenancy in a barrister's chambers;
  • participation in clubs.
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