EOC Gives Legal Assistance in a Disability Discrimination Case Related to COVID-19
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has today (21 April 2022) issued legal proceedings under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), Cap. 487 in the District Court, on behalf of a person (the Claimant), who made a job application for the position of Business Development Manager (BDM) in the Respondent company.
The Claimant’s job application was successful. However, before he commenced work, he was diagnosed with COVID-19 infection. After being hospitalized for about two weeks, his treating doctor confirmed that he had recovered. When the Claimant informed the Respondent that he was ready to report duties, he was told that the BDM position had been filled up by others and was no longer available to him. The Claimant alleged that the Respondent had unlawfully discriminated against him by refusing or deliberately omitting to offer him the employment on the ground of his disability, i.e. COVID-19 infection.
The DDO protects persons with disability against discrimination, harassment and vilification. Under the DDO, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse or deliberately omit to offer an employment position on the ground of a person’s disability, including previously existed disability.
This is the first COVID-19 related disability discrimination case that the EOC took to the court. By taking this case to the court, the EOC hopes to raise public awareness and remind employers that disability discrimination in the workplace is unlawful and employers should not discriminate against a job applicant or an employee who has recovered from COVID-19 infection.
Equal Opportunities Commission
21 April 2022