The EOC Gives Legal Assistance in a Sexual Harassment Case
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has today (20 July 2021) issued legal proceedings under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), Cap. 480 in the District Court, on behalf of a foreign domestic helper (the Claimant) who alleges that her former employer (the Respondent) sexually harassed her on many occasions during the course of her employment with him, including entering the bathroom naked while the Claimant was taking a shower; masturbating in front of the Claimant; walking around the residence naked in the Claimant’s presence; and making unwelcome sexual requests and remarks to the Claimant.
Under the SDO, sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual behaviour directed towards the harassed person in circumstances which a reasonable person would have anticipated that the harassed person would be offended, humiliated, or intimidated. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome request for sexual favours, and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. The SDO covers sexual harassment in the employment field.
It has been brought to the EOC’s attention that there were a considerable number of cases whereby employees were exposed to sexual harassment in the workplace. From 2017 to 2020, the EOC received 519 sexual harassment complaints, representing 45% of all the complaints received by the EOC under the SDO.
By taking this case to court, the EOC hopes to raise public awareness that sexual harassment against foreign domestic helpers in the workplace is unlawful and will attract serious legal consequences. Eliminating sexual harassment remains one of the EOC’s top work priorities.
Equal Opportunities Commission
20 July 2021