The EOC Reports on Work Plans and Progress
Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met on 21 March 2013 (Thursday) at the 100th EOC Meeting and discussed various matters related to the Commission’s business.
With a view to modernize and harmonize the four anti-discrimination Ordinances, Members endorsed the proposal to undertake a comprehensive review of the legislation in light of the last 18 years of experience in Hong Kong as well as international developments. The existing four anti-discrimination Ordinances in Hong Kong were modeled on a combination of similar legislation in the UK and Australia at the time when they were passed and each of them protects people with different attributes. As equality laws in both the UK and Australia have been significantly strengthened over the last 18 years, the changes were instructive for Hong Kong. Besides, the discrimination law review is instrumental in ensuring that the domestic legislation continues to be effective in protecting equality rights as guaranteed under the Basic Law and relevant international covenants.
The review aims to modernize, harmonize and simplify the four anti-discrimination Ordinances, and to provide for the promotion and mainstreaming of equality rights in other areas not currently covered by the existing legislation. Stakeholders and the public at large will be consulted in the process.
The Commission also reviewed the work of the EOC in 2012. Members noted that the number of general public enquiries had increased considerably, jumping from 7,713 to 8,791 cases, or some 14%, compared with that of 2011. Members also noted that the EOC had conducted more training courses for the public and private sectors, in particular on preventing and managing sexual harassment in the workplace and implementing equal opportunities in the workplace. The number of participants attending the training courses had increased considerably, from 17,882 in 2011 to 21,572 in 2012. Members were glad to note that the monthly average hit rate of the EOC’s website had increased to almost 4 million. All these reflect that the public is increasingly concerned with equal opportunity issues.
Members were pleased to note that the average time for concluding complaint cases had been reduced to 102 days from July to December 2012, as compared to 109 days from January to June 2012. This resulted from the case officers’ efforts in encouraging the complainants and respondents to take part in early conciliation, and the adoption of simplified procedures in obtaining information for the purpose of investigation. The Commission would closely monitor its efficiency in complaints handling.
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Equal Opportunities Commission
21 March 2013