The EOC Gives Legal Assistance to a Foreign Domestic Helper in a Pregnancy and Disability Discrimination Case
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has today (14 June 2019) issued legal proceedings under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 480) (“SDO”) and the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 487) (“DDO”) in the District Court, on behalf of a foreign domestic helper (the Claimant) who claims that her former employer (the Respondent) discriminated against her on the grounds of her pregnancy, disability and the related sick leave by terminating her employment.
Pregnancy discrimination means treating a woman less favourably because of her pregnancy, while the definition of disability is broad and covers most illnesses and impairments a person may have. Both pregnant women and persons with disabilities including foreign domestic helpers are protected from discrimination in a number of areas including employment under the anti-discrimination ordinances in Hong Kong.
Pregnancy discrimination in the employment field remains one of the areas in which the EOC has received the highest number of complaints under the SDO. From 2016 to 2018, the EOC received 223 complaints on pregnancy discrimination, representing 32% of all complaints received during this period under the SDO. By taking this case to court, the EOC hopes to raise public awareness on equality as well as the rights of pregnant workers under the SDO, and to remind employers that it is unlawful to discriminate against female employees, including foreign domestic helpers, on the ground of their pregnancy and disability.
Equal Opportunities Commission
14 June 2019