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Anti-Discrimination Laws in Hong Kong
The government understands the need to legally protect minorities from discrimination and has therefore taken different measures and passed laws, making discrimination due to specific factors illegal. Thus, when trying to find a job in Hong Kong for instance, your race, sex, family status, or any disability you might have may not leave you at a disadvantage.
- Race Discrimination Ordinance: In July 2008, Hong Kong’s government introduced the Race Discrimination Ordinance in order to protect people of all races from discrimination, harassment and vilification. With this law, Hong Kong recognizes its obligation to eliminate and prohibit racial discrimination and to guarantee everybody the freedom to exercise their rights without being subject to discrimination.
- Sex Discrimination Ordinance: Hong Kong signed its sex discrimination ordinance into law in 1995. It protects both men and women from sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender, marital status or pregnancy. All Hong Kong employers must follow the sexual discrimination ordinance. The law applies to the areas of employment, education, provision of goods, facilities and services, disposal or management of premises, eligibility to vote for and to be elected or appointed to advisory bodies, participation in clubs, and activities of government.
- Family Status Discrimination Ordinance: Hong Kong introduced this law in 1997 in order to protect residents of Hong Kong from discrimination due to their family status. Every employee in Hong Kong is covered under this measure. It applies to the same areas as the Sex Discrimination Ordinance above.
- Disability Discrimination Ordinance: This law is designed to protect people with disabilities from discrimination, harassment and vilification. This protection also extends to associates of people with disabilities. The law applies to employment, education, access to management of premises, practicing as a barrister, and clubs and sporting activities.
Complaints and Conciliation
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is trying to enforce those laws which are designed to grant equal rights and treatment to people in Hong Kong. People who experience discrimination, harassment or even violence despite anti-discrimination laws can issue a complaint with the EOC. The EOC will then have to investigate the complaint and take further steps.
Usually, the EOC tries to resolve the conflict by means of conciliation, which is a process where both parties come together and try to find a resolution on common ground. Although conciliation is completely voluntary, the resolution which both parties eventually agree on has the function of a binding contract. If the conciliation did not lead to a solution of the complaint, you can seek for legal assistance with the EOC. You can file a complaint here. The EOC also helps and supports expats with a Hong Kong visa who have become the victim of discrimination.
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