1. EOC Chairperson weighs in on forced-kiss incident at Rugby Sevens

EOC Chairperson weighs in on forced-kiss incident at Rugby SevensThe Hong Kong Sevens made headlines earlier this month – not in the sports column, but rather in the local news section – after two excited rugby fans kissed a TV reporter during a live broadcast at the finals, apparently without her consent. A cacophony of views soon erupted: it was sexual harassment; it wasn’t; these things happen at sports events, so just let it be and laugh it off. Pundits quickly pitched in and, unsurprisngly, dished out the cultural relativity argument: such behaviour is widely accepted in Western cultures; any shock or disgust on our part only goes to reveal our insular outlook.

In an article published in am730 on 18 April 2018, EOC Chairperson, Professor Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming filtered out the noise and directed attention to the existing law. According to the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favours, and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, where a reasonable person, taking all the circumstances into account, would have anticipated that the victim would be offended, humiliated or intimidated. While the forced kiss in question surely can come across as offensive and was indeed described by the TV anchor as unacceptable, it may fall outside the purview of the SDO which, although offering protection in the areas of employment, education, provison of goods, facilities and services, and the management and disposal of premises, covers only certain defined relationships, such as that between an employer and an employee, a teacher and a student, a customer and a service provider, etc. Where it is uncertain whether a harassing act falls under the SDO’s protection, members of the public are encouraged to seek assistance from the EOC or report it to the police to see if it may constitue a criminal offense, e.g. indecent assault.

In any case, any appeal to cultural difference, or any suggestion that the matter can be laughed off, amounts to an outright disparaging of the feelings of the aggreived and poisons our society’s ongoing conversation about women’s – and indeed everyone’s – rights to their bodies.

Also, Prof Chan pointed out that journalists may be susceptible to greater and different risks than other professions, as they frequently get into sticky and unexpected scenarios in bringing us the latest news. As employers, media companies ought to adopt clear, transparent and practicable measures to protect their employees from sexual harassment at work.

Read the EOC's recommendations for filling gaps in the SDO under the Discrimination Law Review
Read Prof Chan’s article in am730 (Chinese only)
Check out our anti-sexual harassment resource bank


  1. Have your say in Government’s new Rehabilitation Programme Plan

Have your say in Government’s new Rehabilitation Programme PlanThe Labour and Welfare Bureau is inviting views from members of the public until 4 May 2018 regarding the scope of its new Hong Kong Rehabilitation Programme Plan (RPP).

Last reviewed and updated in 2007, the RPP sets out strategic directions as well as short-, medium- and long-term measures to address the various needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in areas such as residential and day care, community and employment support, barrier-free facilities, transport, healthcare, education, sports and arts. Currently 10 types of disabilities are covered in the plan, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), specific learning difficulties, speech impairment, autism, intellectual disability, mental illness, physical disability, visual impairment, hearing impairment and visceral disability.

To enhance the effectiveness of the Government's rehabilitation policy in ensuring equal opportunity and social participation for PWDs, the formulation of a new RPP was announced in the Policy Address last year. The public consultation exercise is now in its first stage, which will define the scope of the new RPP and identify the key issues to be tackled.

Submit your views now
Get a backgrounder on the RPP and existing services for PWDs


  1. Employees Retraining Board issues new course prospectus for ethnic minorities

Employees Retraining Board issues new course prospectus for ethnic minoritiesThe Employees Retraining Board (ERB) has published its new course prospectus for ethnic minorities for the period April – September 2018. Divided into four categories, namely, Placement-tied Courses, "Skills Upgrading Scheme Plus" Courses, Generic Skills Training Courses and Youth Training Courses, the programme aims to equip ethnic minorities with both technical knowledge specific to a profession and transferable skills applicable across industries in their quest for gainful employment, career development and social integration.

Running the gamut from accounting to hairdressing, barista training and property management, the prospectus covers courses in English, as well as courses conducted in Cantonese and supplemented with English materials. Applicants may be entitled to a subsidised fee or full waiver, subject to income levels.

Learn more about course details and application procedures
About the Employees Retraining Board


  1. Time to turn compassion into action at Serve-a-thon 2018

Time to turn compassion into action at Serve-a-thon 2018We talk of the disadvantaged, we hear about the underprivileged, but do we ever reach out to try and make a difference? Organised by HandsOn Hong Kong and supported by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, the annual one-week Serve-a-thon gathers individuals and groups from schools, corporates, NGOs and the Government to roll up their sleeves and serve those living on the margins of society. The festival is running from 5 – 13 May this year and comprises volunteering sessions such as helping ethnic minority children with their homework, playing games with students with intellectual disabilities, hosting cooking class for the elderly, and hiking with our city’s refugees and asylum seekers.

Last year saw the inaugural edition of Serve-a-thon, which mobilised the local community to devote over 2,700 hours of their time to support more than 15,000 people in need.

Register now and pick an activity of your choice
Watch highlights from Serve-a-thon 2017


Visit our website EOC mobile app (Apple App Store / Google Play) to stay updated on the EOC’s work and positions, and to review our press releases and calendar training. Also, stay tuned on other equal opportunities issues and community initiatives by visiting our community resources and community events pages for information from our community partners, including publications, survey reports, publicity campaigns, and upcoming conferences.