Equal Opportunities Commission


E-news Issue 248


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

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.