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I. Introduction to the existing anti-discrimination ordinances in Hong Kong
What are the major anti-discrimination ordinances in Hong Kong??
What are the functions and duties of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)?
II. Sex Discrimination
Can an employer refuse to employ me because of my gender/sex? Under what circumstances can an employer use "genuine occupational qualification" as an excuse for sex discrimination?
Further to question 1, do employers have to prove the existence of genuine occupational qualification (GOQ) as an exception for sex discrimination if they are being sued or if complaints have been made against them? What would happen if only part of the duties of a job involve gender/sex as a GOQ?
How would a person's age co-relate to sex discrimination? Is it unlawful if different age requirements are applied to males and females when they apply for jobs or obtain goods/services?
What is sexual harassment? Under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, is sexual harassment prohibited in all environments?
What can you do if you are sexually harassed?
If an incident involving sexual harassment happened in an office or another part of the workplace, to what extent may the employer be held responsible or liable?
What is marital status discrimination?
Can an employer refuse to employ a job applicant because she is pregnant?
Can an educational establishment or a service provider refuse to provide services or facilities to me because of my sex, pregnancy or marital status?
What if I receive even worse treatment after I have lodged a complaint? If my friend is being discriminated against because he acts as a witness for me, can my friend also lodge a complaint?
III. Disability Discrimination
What is the general meaning of discrimination, harassment and vilification in relation to a person's disability?
Under what circumstances can an employer refuse to employ or dismiss a person with a disability? Suppose I have a serious leg injury, does it mean that I have no chance to take up a job?
If an employee has an infectious disease or AIDS, can the employer dismiss that person?
What if I receive even worse treatment after I have lodged a complaint? If my friend is being discriminated against because he/she acts as a witness for me, can my friend also lodge a complaint?
If my relative or friend is a disabled person and is being discriminated against by others, can I represent him/her to lodge a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission?
If I'm looking for a job, can an employer require me to provide medical information/records?
If a physically disabled person can handle a particular job with some special facilities/aids, is the employer required to make the relevant adjustments/alterations at the workplace, or could the employer just refuse to employ (or dismiss) that person?
I am a physically disabled person and I always have difficulty in taking a taxi. Should the taxi driver help me on every occasion? What if the driver refuses to offer taxi services to me?
I am a wheelchair user. Do I have equal opportunities in respect of access to public buildings and social facilities?
Toilets for people with disabilities are sometimes used as store rooms.. Is this unlawful under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance?
My child is mentally handicapped and I have applied for a place for him at a mainstream kindergarten.. The kindergarten eventually rejected me. Has the kindergarten contravened the Disability Discrimination Ordinance? If my child is admitted, does the kindergarten have a responsibility to provide special services or facilities to help him with his studies?
If my colleagues openly tease a mentally handicapped colleague about his/her mental handicap and he/she is unhappy about it, is this discrimination?
I want to rent a flat. The landlord and I have already agreed to all the terms and conditions. However, after learning that I am going to live with a relative who is mentally handicapped, the landlord refused to rent the flat to me. Has the landlord contravened the Disability Discrimination Ordinance?
Can an employer refuse to employ me, give me less favourable employment terms, or dismiss me on the basis of my mental illness?
Can a person or company refuse to provide goods, services or facilities to me due to my mental illness?
Can a person with a hearing impairment use a hearing aid when attending a recruitment interview?
Can an employer refuse to employ me on the basis of my visual impairment because the workplace is considered to be of high risk?
Am I protected under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance if I have a chronic illness? What are some examples of chronic illness?
Can an employer dismiss me on the basis of my chronic illness or because I need to have regular medical treatment?
Am I protected under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance if I am infected with HIV/AIDS? If I turn up for help at any hospital or clinic, can it refuse to treat me?
If I am looking for a job, can the employer require me to take an HIV test?
IV. Family Status Discrimination
An employer knows that dismissing a pregnant employee may be unlawful, so he intends to dismiss that employee after she has given birth to her child. Would that employer still be liable under the law?
Can an educational establishment (e.g. an evening school or university) or a service provider refuse to provide me with services or facilities because I need to take care of my family members?
What can I do if I feel I am being discriminated against?
V. Race Discrimination
Is there any grace period under the Race Discrimination Ordinance ("RDO")? If so, when does it end? To which group of people does it apply?
Does the RDO cover all employers in Hong Kong?
Do employers of foreign domestic helpers who select their helpers on the basis of race violate the RDO?
What is Race?
Is the RDO applicable to discrimination on the ground of religion?
What is racial discrimination?
What is discrimination by way of victimization?
What is racial harassment?
What is racial vilification?
Can an employer refuse to offer me a job interview or position in his/her organisation because I am a Filipino and cannot read Chinese?
VI. How to complain
If I want to lodge a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission, what information do I need to provide? How can I lodge a complaint?
Is there any time limit for lodging a complaint?
Can a group of persons lodge a single complaint? Must I (as an aggrieved person) lodge a complaint with the EOC myself?
How does the EOC handle a complaint? Under what circumstances will the EOC discontinue the investigation of a complaint?
How does the EOC conciliate a case? Can the aggrieved person request conciliation?
What if the conciliation is not successful? If I cannot afford legal costs, can I get legal assistance from outside sources?
Can I bring my case to court directly without going to the EOC? What possible compensation or remedial action can I obtain through legal action?
VII. Case illustration
Ms. A works as a sales-coordinator in a food company. A new male colleague reported for duty last week with the job title of "administration officer". Ms. A knows that they are both doing administrative work, but with different job titles. The thing she considers unfair is that the salary of that male colleague is higher than hers by $2,000. Is this unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance?
Ms. A's boss asked her to have sex with him when they were on a business trip in China. Is she protected under the SDO if sexual harassment takes place outside Hong Kong?
A security guard near their home openly teases their son about his disabled leg. Is this unlawful under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance?
Mr. B has been diagnosed with a respiratory illness and he needs to see a doctor regularly. His boss has since commented on his sick leave record, and the inconvenience caused to other colleagues during his absence. Just a month ago, he was hospitalized for one week due to his worsening health. When he returned to work, he was dismissed on the basis that he had taken too much sick leave. Is it unlawful for his employer to dismiss him because he suffers from a chronic illness and therefore requires regular medical treatment?
Their son wants to participate in an extra curricular activity organized by a school club. However, the club believes that he may not be able to perform the activity due to his leg disability. Can the club refuse to allow him to participate in the activity?
Their son has been teased by his classmates because of his disability. Is the school liable for acts of harassment and vilification committed by a student against another student with a disability?
Equal Opportunities Commission
Hong Kong Council of Social Service
Hong Kong Judiciary
Legal Aid Department
Bilingual Laws Information System
Hong Kong Legal Information Institute
The CLIC Team
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