The EOC Gives Legal Assistance in a Pregnancy Discrimination Case
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has today (15 November 2019) issued legal proceedings under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), Cap. 480 in the District Court, on behalf of a woman (the Claimant) who previously worked for a company (the Respondent) as a Senior Manager. The Claimant claims that the Respondent discriminated against her because of her pregnancy by (i) not giving her an end-of-year bonus and (ii) not renewing her employment contract.
Pregnancy discrimination means treating a woman less favourably because of her pregnancy and/or related maternity leave. 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.
Employment-related pregnancy discrimination remains one of the EOC’s most frequently received complaints under the SDO. The EOC has received 223 complaints on pregnancy discrimination, representing 32% of total complaints received under the SDO, from 2016 to 2018. It shows that working pregnant women still face considerable discrimination.
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.
Equal Opportunities Commission
15 November 2019