Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2020 now in force
The EOC welcomes the gazettal of the Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2020 on 19 June 2020, following the passage of the Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018 by the Legislative Council on 11 June 2020. The Ordinance came into force on 19 June 2020, with the exception of the breastfeeding-related provisions which would come into force on 19 June 2021.
Implementing eight of the recommendations the EOC made to the Government in its 2016 Discrimination Law Review report, the Ordinance enhances protection from discrimination and harassment under Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination laws, namely the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO) and Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO). The amendments include:
- providing protection from direct and indirect discrimination, as well as victimisation for breastfeeding women in key sectors, such as education, employment and the provision of goods, services and facilities under the SDO;
- providing protection from sexual, disability and racial harassment in common workplaces where there is no employment relationship (e.g. consignment workers, volunteers and interns) under the SDO, DDO and RDO;
- providing protection from disability and racial harassment where customers harass service providers, including where such acts occur on Hong Kong registered aircraft or ships and while they are overseas under the DDO and RDO;
- introducing protection from direct and indirect racial discrimination and racial harassment by imputation under the RDO;
- protecting an associate of a person from direct racial discrimination and racial harassment under the RDO;
- providing protection from sexual and disability harassment for members and prospective members of clubs, by the management of the clubs under the SDO and DDO; and
- repealing requirements of an intention to discriminate as a pre-condition to awarding damages for acts of indirect discrimination under the SDO, FSDO and RDO.
In an article published in Stand News, Inmedia and Hong Kong Economic Journal, EOC Chairperson, Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin wrote, “I am heartened to see that lawmakers across the aisle have come together to stand behind a genuinely good cause, offering stronger legal safeguards for the fundamental rights of vulnerable communities and society at large. But this is only the beginning of much-needed change – the report we submitted to the Government back in 2016 prioritised as many as 27 recommendations, 19 of which have yet to be adopted. The EOC will continue to lobby our stakeholders, work closely with the legislature and the Government, and strive for progress that defines what Hong Kong should be: diverse, inclusive, and free from injustices.”