Christmas ornaments placed on a tableAs COVID-19 continues to rage on around the globe, seasonal celebrations will have to take on new forms and a much-needed sense of caution this year. Hong Kong, however, has always been an agile and resilient society, with people from diverse backgrounds being able to come together and carve out a better future. The EOC looks forward to working with all sectors to foster this spirit of solidarity and inclusivity in the New Year, and wishes everyone a safe and merry holiday season.


  1. EOC issues legal proceedings on behalf of foreign domestic worker in disability discrimination case

Illustrated image of a fist holding a balance scale
On 22 December 2020, the EOC issued legal proceedings under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) in the District Court on behalf of a foreign domestic helper (the Claimant). The Claimant alleged that her former employer (the Respondent) had discriminated against her by terminating her employment on the ground of her disability (i.e. cervical cancer) and related sick leave.

The Claimant had taken sick leave for around three weeks after a provisional diagnosis of cervical cancer. She was dismissed by the Respondent merely a few days after she was confirmed to have stage IIIB cervical cancer, with the termination letter expressly attributing the reason for her dismissal to her sickness and related sick leave.
The DDO protects persons with disability against discrimination, harassment and vilification. Under the DDO, it is unlawful for an employer to dismiss an employee on the ground of the employee’s disability (which includes an illness).

By taking the case to court, the EOC hopes to raise awareness among employees, including foreign domestic workers, of their rights under the DDO, and to remind employers that it is a contravention of the DDO to discriminate against an employee on the ground of disability by way of dismissal.

Read the press release
Read the Code of Practice on Employment under the DDO

  1. EOC teams with NGOs and YouTuber New Dellily to launch virtual photo exhibition

Promotional banner of the virtual exhibition
The EOC has recently launched a virtual exhibition entitled “The Way We Are”, featuring over 130 original photographic works contributed by marginalised groups, including people living with depression, deaf people, people with visual challenges, ethnic minority students, foreign domestic workers, carers, immigrant women from mainland China, and the LGBT community. With the support of 14 organisations, the campaign seeks to offer a platform of self-representation for disadvantaged groups, and to address prejudices and stereotypes through authentic portraits of their everyday life.

The campaign also sees a first-time collaboration between the EOC and Hong Kong-born Indian YouTuber New Dellily, who has interviewed some of the contributing photographers in a three-part video series. The first episode, featuring migrant worker Leeh Ann and two local university students from ethnic minority backgrounds Macx and Kawaljot, has been released today on the campaign website and New Dellily’s channel. Their works share a common exploration of themes about home and belonging, and the elusive question of “who is local”.

Subject to the developments of the pandemic, the EOC will stage exhibitions across the city, including at 1/F Atrium, The Mills, Tsuen Wan from 29 January – 26 February 2021 and at G/F Gallery, Run Run Shaw Tower, The University of Hong Kong from 6-23 March 2021. The EOC may reschedule or cancel the exhibitions as and when required by social distancing rules and venue policies. Relevant announcements and updates will be posted on the campaign website.

Part of the EOC’s celebratory programme for its 25th anniversary in 2021, the campaign has garnered enthusiastic support from civil society, specifically 14 Supporting Organisations including: Association for Transgender Rights; Association of Women with Disabilities Hong Kong; The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong (Project Touch); Committee on Gender Equality and Diversity, Faculty of Arts, The University of Hong Kong; Gay and Grey; Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres; The Hong Kong Society for the Deaf; KELY Support Group; Lensational; Les Corner Empowerment Association; Mental Health Photographic Society; PrideLab; Sightfeeling; and The Society for Community Organization.

Browse through the online exhibition
Watch the video
Read the EOC’s press release about the campaign

  1. Look out for EOC ads on the MTR and support racial equality

EOC rolls out MTR advertising campaign to promote racial equality
In an effort to rally support for racial equality and inclusion amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the EOC has rolled out an advertising campaign on MTR trains on the Island Line, Kwun Tong Line and Tsuen Wan Line spanning 36 weeks in three phases.
For the first phase of the campaign, which runs from 17 December 2020 until 10 March 2021, the EOC has partnered with WEDO Global, a social enterprise that advocates multicultural education to develop an advert carrying the theme, “Fight the virus together as one human race”. The two versions of the advert feature 10 people of different ethnicities, including members of the African, Chinese, Caucasian, Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Nepalese, Pakistani, Thai and Vietnamese communities in Hong Kong.

Wearing masks sewn by ethnic minority women under WEDO Global’s “We Mask Action” project, the people represented in the ads come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, from finance to performing arts, and law to social welfare. They also include homemakers, as well as university and secondary school students.

Through the campaign, the EOC wishes to highlight the need for solidarity in trying times such as the present, and the contribution everyone is making to the fight against the pandemic, regardless of gender, race, age, occupation and other attributes. As EOC Chairperson Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin said, “The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on ethnic minority communities. We must seize this opportunity to find more effective ways to address the unique challenges they face, and build a racially inclusive society in Hong Kong.”

As part of this endeavour, the EOC has run an online hub since March 2020, offering dedicated information on COVID-19 in relation to discrimination and other issues of concern. This includes a  set of FAQs for foreign domestic workers and their employers, which is available in six languages, namely Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, English, Nepali, Tagalog and Thai.

Read the EOC’s press release about the campaign
Visit the EOC’s COVID-19 hub

  1. EOC releases Annual Report 2019/20

Cover of the EOC Annual Report 2019/20
The EOC is pleased to present its Annual Report 2019/20, which highlights important areas of the Commission’s work from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2021. While the ongoing COVID-19 scare and the social unrest over the last year have sparked a surge in public concern over various forms of discrimination, harassment and vilification, the EOC has strived to make the most of its statutory powers to address both new and recurring issues through law enforcement, prevention and education.  

As EOC Chairperson Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin wrote in his message for the report, “Parties across the political spectrum have found our takes on issues unpalatable, despite the fact that they were firmly rooted in the law. As people’s trust in public bodies plummets, we must — and we will — be more creative, nimble and humble in influencing opinion and demonstrating our nine organisational values: equality, fairness, integrity, sensitivity, energy, efficiency, transparency, independence and accountability.”

Mr Chu continues, “The year 2021 will mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Commission. I look forward to leading the EOC to continue to deliver its functions with dedication and professionalism, while keeping our fingers on the pulse of the community.”

Read the Annual Report