Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

The EOC Gives Legal Assistance in a Pregnancy Discrimination and Family Status Discrimination Case


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has today (23 October 2019) issued legal proceedings under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), Cap. 480 and Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO), Cap. 527 in the District Court, on behalf of a woman (the Claimant) who previously worked for a company (the Respondent) as a cashier.
The Claimant claimed that the Respondent discriminated against her on the ground of her pregnancy by not paying her an annual bonus after being informed of her pregnancy. Further, the Claimant was dismissed by the Respondent on the ground of her pregnancy and/or her family status (i.e. her responsibility of taking care of her two sons who were about one year old and a newborn respectively).
Pregnancy discrimination means treating a woman less favourably because of her pregnancy. The SDO protects women from pregnancy discrimination in areas such as employment and the provision of goods, facilities or services. Under the SDO, it is unlawful for an employer to subject a woman to a disadvantage or dismiss her on the ground of her pregnancy.
Under the FSDO, it is unlawful to discriminate a person on the ground of family status. Family status means the status of having a responsibility for the care of an immediate family member. Immediate family member, in relation to a person, means someone who is related to the person concerned by blood, marriage, adoption or affinity. The areas of activities for which a person may lodge a complaint under the FSDO are the same as those under the SDO.
By taking this case to Court, the EOC hopes to raise public awareness of the rights of pregnant workers under the SDO, and to remind employers that it is unlawful to discriminate against employees because of their pregnancy and/or family status under the SDO and FSDO.
Equal Opportunities Commission
23 October 2019