1. EOC lauded at Directors Of the Year Awards 2018

Group photo of EOC winning the Excellence in Board Diversity and titular awardThe EOC recently garnered two accolades at the Directors Of The Year Awards 2018. In addition to winning the titular award in the category “Statutory/No-profit-distributing Organisations”, the EOC received special recognition for its Excellence in Board Diversity.

Hosted annually by the Hong Kong Institute of Directors, the awards seek to honour outstanding boards and directors while promoting good corporate governance and professionalism. Nominees are vetted according to board composition, effectiveness in delivering corporate functions, development and implementation of strategic plans, accountability and business ethics, among other factors.

“We are heartened to receive such a prestigious award, which serves as an acknowledgement of the diversity, expertise and professionalism of the EOC Board. Indeed, as a bastion of equality, we strive to practise what we preach with integrity, accountability and transparency,” said Prof Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming, Chairperson of the EOC. “With the staunch support of the Board, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of our complaint-handling services and governance structure, relocated our office to tackle rising rental costs, rolled out new public education initiatives, and embarked on timely studies to meet the evolving expectations of the local community. We will continue to work closely with the Government, NGOs, businesses and other stakeholders to further strengthen our capacity as an enforcer of anti-discrimination laws and an influencer on public policy.”

Read the press release
Learn more about the awards


  1. Eleven enterprises took the lead to sign EOC’s Racial Diversity and Inclusion Charter

Group photo of the representivities of eleven enterprises and EOCEleven enterprises took the lead to sign the EOC’s Racial Diversity and Inclusion Charter for Employers on 6 December 2018, pledging to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. They include Arup, AXA, CLP Holdings Limited, Community Business, Fairwood Holdings Limited, Hiu Kwong Group, Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong, HSBC, Jardine Aviation Services Group, Manulife (International) Limited and Shun Tak Holdings Limited.

Launched by the EOC to encourage employers to realise the benefits of diversity for business, the Charter sets out nine guidelines based on the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) and the Code of Practice in Employment under the RDO, covering three broad areas – policy, culture and work environment. The EOC will provide signatories with advice on formulating, implementing and reviewing best practices along these goals.

Prof Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, EOC Chairperson, said at the launch ceremony, “More and more companies and organisations are beginning to reckon the contribution ethnic minorities (EM) can make to their operation and development. Thanks to their diverse talents and backgrounds, EM employees often bring innovative solutions to business challenges, from countering drops in productivity to expanding the client base. The Charter therefore aims at both eliminating racial discrimination in the workplace and  demonstrating why it makes business sense to foster diversity and inclusion. We hope and we do expect that more enterprises will come on board and join this worthwhile pursuit.”

Companies having operated in Hong Kong for at least a year with Business Registration, charitable organisations, education establishments, medical institutions, chambers of commerce and professional bodies, etc. are all eligible. Signatores can display the signed Charter at the office and use the dedicated Racial Diversity & Inclusion logo on their websites, publications, job advertisements and publicity materials.

Read the press release
Read Prof Chan’s article in AM730 on the Charter (Chinese only)
Find out more about the Charter


  1. EOC gives legal assistance in pregnancy discrimination case

A pregnant womanOn 4 December 2018, the EOC issued legal proceedings under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), Cap. 480 in the District Court, on behalf of a woman (the Claimant) who previously worked for a company (the 1st  Respondent) as a Manager. The Claimant alleged that the 1st Respondent discriminated against her on the ground of her pregnancy, adding that her former direct supervisor (2nd Respondent) knowingly aided the 1st Respondent to commit the unlawful discriminatory acts, including, but not limited to, extending the Claimant’s probation without any valid reasons; removing her main duties; relocating her to a new workstation near the washroom; denying her access to office email and printing machines; removing her from all work-related communication channels and platforms; requiring her to take unpaid leave to attend medical examination in relation to her pregnancy; and terminating her employment upon return from maternity leave.

Pregnancy discrimination means treating a woman less favourably because of her pregnancy. The SDO protects women from pregnancy discrimination in various public domains, such as employment and the provision of goods, services or facilities. Under the SDO, it is unlawful for an employer to subject a woman to any detriment or dismiss her on the ground of her pregnancy.

Pregnancy discrimination in the field of employment has consistently accounted for a significant proportion of SDO-related complaints received by the EOC. From 2015 to 2017, the EOC received 200 complaints on pregnancy discrimination, representing 38% of all complaints received during this period under the SDO. Evidently, pregnant women in Hong Kong continue to suffer considerable levels of discrimination in the workplace. By taking this case to court, the EOC hopes to raise public awareness of the rights of pregnant workers under the SDO, and to remind employers that it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee because of her pregnancy.

Read the press release
Know your rights under the SDO


  1. Piecemeal reform not enough to ensure equality, says EOC Chairperson as world celebrates UDHR 70th Anniversary

Logo of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsAs celebrations of the 70th  anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) spring up across the world this month, EOC Chairperson, Prof Alfred Chan Cheung-ming released an article on InMedia on 7 December, remembering the spirit of UDHR and calling on the Government to step up its commitment to promoting equal rights by filling longstanding gaps in anti-discrimination laws. The article was also published in the South China Morning Post on 9 December 2018, and in Ming Pao Daily (online version) and Hong Kong Economic Journal on 10 December 2018 respectively.

Adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948, the UDHR proclaimed that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and paved the way for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, two treaties that were domesticated in Hong Kong through the Bill of Rights Ordinance and four anti-discrimination ordinances.

Prof Chan wrote, “Back in 2016, the EOC recommended 73 revisions to the anti-discrimination ordinances to the Government under the Discrimination Law Review (DLR). Yet, only eight of our recommendations have been taken forward in the Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill gazetted last month. This piecemeal approach, often chalked up to controversy over more comprehensive reforms, has left the marginalised and disadvantaged an easy target for discrimination, harassment and vilification.”

Loopholes in the law include an exemption granted to the Government’s powers and functions under the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO); a narrow definition of race under the RDO that does not cover nationality, citzenship and residency status; the lack of an express provision under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance requiring employers, education establishments and providers of goods and services to provide reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities; and the absence of an ordinance dedicated to outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

“To quote from the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, ‘divergence of views should not become an obstacle to the Government’s leading Hong Kong to make progress and more importantly, it should never bring Hong Kong to a standstill’,” continued Prof Chan. “One could only hope that the Government would apply the same logic to its work in protecting marginalised groups and promoting equality.”

Read Prof Chan’s English article
Read Prof Chan’s Chinese article
Read EOC’s submission to the Government on the DLR


Visit our website or download the 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.