EOC Launches MTR Advertising Campaign to Promote Protections from Harassment in Common Workplaces
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (19 August 2022) launched an MTR advertising campaign to raise awareness of the protections against sexual harassment, disability harassment and racial harassment in common workplaces under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) and Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) respectively. Large posters will be placed across 60 MTR stations for three weeks starting from today until 8 September 2022.
The advertisement illustrates examples of sexual harassment, disability harassment and racial harassment in common workplaces with three scenarios, including an intern being sexually harassed by her boss; a volunteer being harassed because of his disability by an employee of the organisation he serves; and a consignment promoter being racially harassed by another consignment promoter who is from another company but works at the same supermarket. By scanning the QR code on the poster with mobile devices, members of the public can watch the related TV Announcement in the Public Interest to have a better understanding of the protections.
Under the anti-discrimination ordinances, it is unlawful for a workplace participant to subject another workplace participant to sexual, disability or racial harassment at the workplace where they both work or attend. Workplace participants are defined to include employers, employees, interns, volunteers, partners in a firm, contract workers and their principals, as well as commission agents and their principals.
Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin, Chairperson of the EOC said, “Since 19 June 2020, the SDO, DDO and RDO provide protections from sexual, disability and racial harassment in common workplaces, even when there is no employment or other similar work relationships. This new protection will be particularly important for interns. In fact, our ‘Territory-wide Representative Survey on Sexual Harassment in Hong Kong 2021’ indicated a higher chance for young women and interns to be sexually harassed at work. Through this campaign, we hope to bring out the important message that the law has evolved to strengthen protections for interns who fall prey to sexual harassment.”
According to the findings of the “Territory-wide Representative Survey on Sexual Harassment in Hong Kong 2021”, about 11.8% of respondents reported having been sexually harassed at work in the past 24 months prior to the survey, that is, nearly one in eight respondents had experienced workplace sexual harassment. Women were significantly more likely to have been sexually harassed at work (women: 14.6%; men: 8.8%). The chance of younger women aged 18 to 34 being sexually harassed at the workplace was significantly higher. They were almost twice as likely to be sexually harassed at work (young women 22.5%; overall average 11.8%). Moreover, among the interns interviewed, 25.5% experienced sexual harassment at work or by co-workers, a far higher proportion than that of permanent staff (11.4%).
Mr CHU continued, “Anti-sexual harassment has always been one of the work priorities of the EOC. In 2013, we launched the Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign, and in November 2020, we established the dedicated Anti-Sexual Harassment Unit (ASHU) to strengthen the effort in combating sexual harassment through prevention, research, policy advocacy, policy guidance and training. The ASHU is tasked with acting as a first port of call for those affected by sexual harassment with a view to addressing the issue for underreporting of sexual harassment among victims.”
At the end of January 2021, the EOC launched the Anti-Sexual Harassment Hotline 2106 2222, with a view to providing members of the public with information on provisions of the law, advice on where to lodge complaints and seek redress, and referral to counselling and therapy services. In addition, employers and human resources personnel can also learn about the liabilities of employers for the sexual harassment acts committed by employees through this hotline. Since the operation of the hotline and until July this year, the ASHU received over 600 enquiries, with over half of enquirers being potential complainants. To disseminate anti-sexual harassment messages into our daily lives, the ASHU launched its first citywide anti-sexual harassment sticker design competition early this year. The winning entries have been made into stickers for use on instant messengers. Members of the public are welcome to download the winning stickers from COMPASS, the EOC Anti-Sexual Harassment Resource Platform.
To know more about how the law defines sexual, disability and racial harassment, members of the public can make reference to the leaflet on protections against sexual, disability and racial harassment in common workplaces and the related poster. The leaflet is also available in other languages on the EOC website.
Equal Opportunities Commission
19 August 2022