1. EOC welcomes new Member

Photo of the reception at the EOC office
The EOC welcomes the appointment of Mr Simon LAM Ken-chung as a new Member and the re-appointment of existing Member, Dr Sigmund LEUNG Sai-man by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, announced by the Government on 8 May 2020.

EOC Chairperson, Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin said, “I am certain that Mr Lam will add to the wealth of experience and expertise of the current Board and bring valuable insights to the EOC’s work. As the Commission tackles new challenges in the pursuit of a pluralistic and inclusive society in Hong Kong, I look forward to working closely with both Mr Lam and our incumbent Members, who have shown a strong and sustained commitment to our cause.”

The EOC also extends its gratitude to outgoing Member, Mr Samuel CHAN Ka-yan for his support and advice in the past years. “We are indebted to Mr Chan for his significant contributions to the EOC,” said Mr Chu. “I am confident that with his longstanding dedication to serving the community and promoting equal opportunities, we can continue to count on him being an ally in our fight against discrimination.”

Read the EOC’s press release
Read the Government’s press release

  1. EOC’s latest journal answers hotly debated questions amid COVID-19

Illustrated image of a restaurant with the text, “My business, my rules?”
The global coronavirus outbreak has sparked concerns of racism and xenophobia around the world, following reports of eggings, beatings and other forms of assault against Chinese and Asian diasporas. While incidents of the same severity have not happened in Hong Kong so far, unmet demands for a complete border shutdown have set the stage for some local eateries to ban Putonghua-speaking customers, visitors from mainland China, and/or new immigrants.

How the anti-discrimination ordinances may (or may not) apply to these scenarios can appear perplexing to the public. Why could a ban on Putonghua speakers amount to indirect racial discrimination against ethnic Chinese?  How might the notion of “imputed disability” under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance come into play when shops turn away customers based on the perception or speculation that they have been infected with the coronavirus? When a measure discriminates on the ground of disability but purports to protect public health from the spread of an infectious disease, why must we ascertain if it is a “reasonably necessary” move?

Released on 6 May 2020, the latest issue of the EOC’s journal, Equality Perspectives offers a crash course on six key concepts under the anti-discrimination law, before going into a deep dive on the more complex issues arising from the contagion. It also includes a story about some of the marginalised communities who are taking a bigger hit in these difficult times, from ethnic minorities and migrant workers to carers and children with special educational needs.

Click the link below to learn more.

Read the journal

  1. EOC calls for joint effort to stop school bullying ahead of class resumption

Blurred shot of a schoolboy being bullied by classmates in school corridor
As the Covid-19 pandemic slows in Hong Kong, hopes have emerged that things would return to normal soon, and so have plans for classes to resume. For some students, however, life before the coronavirus outbreak had its own share of pains and woes. School bullying, in particular, continues to haunt students deemed “different” by their peers, including children with special educational needs (SEN), LGBT teenagers and others.

To raise awareness of the issue, EOC Chairperson, Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin recently contributed an article to Hong Kong Free Press and Inmedia, citing cases of bullying against LGBT students and those with disability while calling for a collective effort to ensure campuses are not only safe from the coronavirus, but also free from harassment.

“At the heart of the problem is an educational system that is struggling to cultivate a sense of respect for difference and diversity among the younger generation,” wrote Mr Chu. “There is an urgent need to modernise our moral or value education curriculum, so that it can properly address issues arising from the developments of technology, be it the misrepresentation of people with disability in ‘funny’ YouTube videos, hate speech in chat groups, or stereotypical gender portrayals on Instagram.”

From illustrated storybooks for children such as the Tally & friends series to recommendations to the Education Bureau for a holistic reform of sexuality education, the EOC has stepped up its effort in recent years to build schools’ capacity for teaching empathy and compassion to students. But at the end of the day, countering bullying must be a collaborative effort among parents, teachers, school administrators, the media, content platforms, and the Government.

To read the full article, please click the link below.

Read the article

  1. EOC offers legal assistance in disability discrimination case

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On 12 May 2020, the EOC instituted legal proceedings in the District Court under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), on behalf of a person (the “Claimant”) who previously worked for a company (the “Respondent”) as an Accounting and Administrative Officer.

The Claimant claimed that the Respondent had discriminated against her on the ground of her disability (i.e. her left olecranon fracture and related sick leave) by terminating her employment upon her return from sick leave. The Claimant had taken sick leave for a certain period of time. On the day when she resumed duty after sick leave, she was dismissed by the Respondent.

The DDO protects persons with disability against discrimination in various fields, including employment. Under the DDO, it is unlawful for an employer to dismiss an employee on the ground of the employee’s disability, which includes sickness.

Employment-related cases of disability discrimination have accounted for a significant portion of the complaints lodged with the EOC year after year. By taking this case to Court, the EOC hopes to send a strong message to employers that disability discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable and will be dealt with seriously by the EOC.

Read the press release

  1. EOC’s summer training programme now open for application

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The EOC is now accepting applications for its 2020 summer training programme. The three free courses, namely “Introduction to the Anti-discrimination Ordinances in Hong Kong”, “Understanding Unlawful Harassment under the Anti-discrimination Ordinances” and “Promoting a Culturally Inclusive Workplace”, equip participants with a fundamental knowledge of the anti-discrimination laws in Hong Kong and their application, while explaining the benefits that diversity and inclusion can bring to a business.

Also among the offerings are five paid courses, which are geared to HR practitioners, managers, business owners and other professionals. They focus on more specific issues, such as preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, managing recruitment and selection processes, and handling complaints of discrimination and harassment.

The courses run from early June to early August 2020. Interested parties should register at least seven working days before the relevant course commences. Places are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. For enquiries, please contact the EOC at 2106 2155 or eoc@eoc.org.hk.

View the course schedule
Read the course content
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