Gold and red ornaments saying the year 2020The EOC sends you warm wishes for a prosperous 2020 filled with joy, love, health and peace of mind. We look forward to continuing to have you as our ally in the fight for equality and inclusion.


  1. EOC welcomes District Court ruling on pregnancy discrimination case

Statue of Lady JusticeOn 31 December 2019, the EOC issued a statement welcoming the judgement handed down by the District Court on 30 December (DCEO 3/2018), which ruled in favour of a woman (the “Claimant”) unlawfully discriminated against by her employer because of her pregnancy.

The Claimant, who worked as a clerk for a company (the “Respondent”), alleged that the Respondent had discriminated against her on the ground of her pregnancy by pressuring her to resign, and later dismissing her after she resumed work from her sick leave taken because of her miscarriage.

The Court also ruled that the Respondent unlawfully victimised the Claimant under Section 9 of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) and Section 7(1) of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), by refusing to provide severance pay and proof of employment to her for the reason that the Claimant had lodged complaints with the EOC.

To mark the degree of hurt and indignation felt by Claimant, the Court awarded a total sum of $133,000 for injury to feelings, loss of income and punitive damages, and ordered the Respondent to issue a proof of employment to the Claimant within 14 days.

The Claimant had been offered legal assistance from the EOC, whose in-house lawyers acted as her legal representative to initiate proceedings under the SDO and the DDO, prepare court documents, attend interlocutory hearings, and act as the instructing solicitor to assist external counsel in trial.

“For years, pregnancy discrimination has accounted for the second highest number of complaints lodged under the SDO,” said Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin, Chairperson of the EOC. “We are therefore strongly encouraged by the ruling, which sent an important message to all employers that they should not treat their pregnant employees in a discriminatory manner.”

Mr Chu continued, “As mentioned in the judgement, women should not be deprived of their freedom and right to employment because of their pregnancy. To safeguard the rights of pregnant women, not only have we enforced the law vigorously and conducted strategic litigation over the years, but we have also called on the Government to fill gaps in the current anti-discrimination legislation. Specifically, we have recommended the introduction of a statutory right for women to return to their work position after maternity leave under the Discrimination Law Review, the report of which was submitted to the Government in March 2016.”

Read the full statement
Know your rights as a pregnant woman under the SDO

  1. Let’s join hands to defuse the mental health crisis in Hong Kong

Cover of the 2019 Winter issue of Equality PerspectivesLife in modern Hong Kong, especially amid times of social upheaval, can be exhausting. From fake news and doxing to heated debates and unanswered hopes, the challenges we face these days can take a heavy toll on our minds and hearts.

In fact, studies after studies have shown that Hong Kong is having a mental health crisis. According to the 2019 Hong Kong Mental Health Index, Hongkongers only scored 46.4 on the World Health Organization’s Five Well-Being Index, far below the acceptable level (i.e. 52).

It is high time our society addresses its mental health issues squarely. Hence the theme, “Defusing the Mental Health Crisis”, of the 2019 winter issue of our journal Equality Perspectives, published on 20 December 2019. As Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin, EOC Chairperson said in the foreword, “While it may not be within the EOC’s remit to tackle every single cause of the crisis, we are fully committed to removing the stigma attached to both people affected by mental health problems and their carers, and working together to puncture myths around mental illness and facilitate the siting of mental health facilities.”

In the cover story, we examine the challenges confronting Integrated Community Centres for Mental Wellness (ICCMWs) in Hong Kong, which have often met with strong opposition from nearby residents and siting delays when securing a permanent spot. We talked to the Officer-in-Charge and volunteer of the ICCMW at Yat Tung Estate in Tung Chung, as well as the Chairperson of a Mutual Aid Committee about the hard work behind the successful siting of the centre, its various services, and how to improve Hong Kong’s mental health policy.

Support facilities aside, legal redress ought to be available, especially when prejudice manifests itself in acts inciting public hatred. We therefore end this issue with an article about the notion of “vilification” under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, as a quick legal brush-up for our readers.

An e-book version of the journal is available on the EOC website. Click the link below to download it now!

Read the journal

  1. Youth relish immersive experience in ethnic minority cultures

Participants posed for a group photo in front of Kung Yung Koon.This winter, youngsters in the EOC’s “Generation i” programme went on a cultural expedition in the city by visiting the Kung Yung Koon in Kwai Chung on 14 December. Located in Ping Lai Path, home to a vibrant South Asian community with Islamic restaurants, South Asian grocery stores and mosques, Kung Yung Koon is part of a community project by the HKSKH Lady MacLehose Centre to nurture cultural understanding and integration between mainstream and ethnic minority communities.

During the visit on 14 December, the young participants were introduced to the history of South Asian immigration, and took a walk along Ping Lai Path to learn about the lifestyles of South Asians in Hong Kong. They were even treated with Pakistani snacks for an authentic taste of ethnic minority cultures.

The visit was organised by the EOC under the “Generation i” project, which aims to instil in the younger generation greater understanding and appreciation of the values of diversity and inclusion through first-hand experience and interaction with people with different cultures and needs. The initiative was launched last September and various secondary schools have since enrolled in the programme.

In February 2020, another batch of young participants will visit Kung Yung Koon. Other programmes in the line-up include a visit to the Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association, an anti-sexual harassment workshop by the Association Concerning Sexual Violence against Women, and a “Wheel We Meet” experiential activity by Wheel Power Challenge.

About the “Generation i” programme
Like the “Generation i” facebook page

  1. EOC welcomes gazettal of the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019

Image of a woman juggling family and career. She is holding a baby with one hand and her phone with the other hand.On 27 December 2019, the SAR Government published the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Gazette. The Bill seeks to increase the statutory maternity leave under the Employment Ordinance (EO) (Cap. 57) from the current 10 weeks to 14 weeks. Following the gazettal, the Government plans to introduce the Bill into the Legislative Council on 8 January 2020.

The EOC welcomes the gazettal of the Bill, and hopes that it will be passed by the Legislative Council soon. The EOC believes that the long overdue extension will help enhance the mental and physical health of new mothers, many of whom need to juggle parental responsibilities and professional duties. It will also give mothers more time to transition to their parental role, and then back to the workplace. Indeed, the EOC has been calling for greater support for new mothers. Under  the Discrimination Law Review, the EOC has specifically recommended the Government to introduce a statutory right for women to return to their previous role after maternity leave, or if that position no longer exists, a suitable alternative position on similar terms and conditions.

Read the press release on the gazettal of the Bill
More on the Discrimination Law Review

  1. Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme 2020-21 opens for application

Key visual of the scheme, featuring icons of a hearing aid, a wheelchair user, etc.The Internet has become an important, if not indispensable, resource for everyone in society today. From doing research for school work and applying for jobs to shopping and paying bills, our everyday life is essentially conducted and happening online, which makes digital inclusion all the more important.

With a view to encouraging more enterprises and organisations to adopt accessibility design in their websites and mobile apps and promoting digital inclusion in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited is organising another round of the Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme ("the Scheme") in 2020-2021, with the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer as the co-organiser and the Equal Opportunities Commission as the independent advisor.

Applications for the Scheme, which features a stream for websites and another for mobile apps, are now open until 19 June 2020. Successful entrants will be bestowed with the Triple Gold, Gold or Silver Award, or the Friendly Website/Mobile App Recognition according to the accessibility level of their websites/mobile apps. 

For details of the Scheme and the application procedures, please click the links below.

About the Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme  
Application procedures