The EOC Welcomes District Court Ruling on Pregnancy Discrimination
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) welcomes today’s judgment (DCEO 11/2012) by the District Court in favour of a woman who was discriminated against on the ground of pregnancy under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) by her former employer who inserted a one day break between her old and new contracts in order to deprive her of statutory maternity leave pay. In addition to awarding the Plaintiff, among others, the damages of injury to feelings and loss of maternity leave pay, the Court also orders that the Defendant to pay exemplary damages to the Plaintiff.
“Pregnancy discrimination remains a common occurrence in the workplace. We welcome the Court’s ruling and hope that it will send a strong message to all employers that breaking the continuity of a staff person's employment deliberately to avoid the statutory entitlement to maternity leave pay, may constitute pregnancy discrimination under the SDO,” said Dr. York CHOW, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission.
“Today's court decision again underlines the importance to the community of the legal protection against pregnancy discrimination for women,” added Dr. Chow. The EOC hopes to remind employers that it is unlawful to avoid the statutory entitlement to maternity leave pay by breaking the continuity of a staff employment intentionally. Also, pregnancy rights must still be respected in outsourcing arrangements, and principals should ensure that contractors comply with the law.
For media enquiries, please contact Mr. Sam HO (2106-2187).
Equal Opportunities Commission
3 January 2014