EOC Gives Legal Assistance in a Disability Discrimination Case
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has today (27 June 2023) issued legal proceedings under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), Cap. 487 in the District Court, on behalf of a person (the Claimant) who previously worked for a cake shop as a Shop Assistant. The Claimant claimed that the 1st Respondent (the shop owner), together with the 2nd Respondent (director of the 1st Respondent) and 3rd Respondent (direct supervisor of the Claimant), discriminated against her on the ground of her disability (i.e. acute lower back pain) by subjecting her to a series of discriminatory treatments (including harassment) after she returned to work from sick leave, before terminating her employment.
The Claimant worked for the 1st Respondent for more than one year with satisfactory job performance. She sprained her back after moving stocks of cake boxes at work and was diagnosed with acute lower back pain. After she resumed work from sick leave (6 days), she was specifically required by the 3rd Respondent to take up additional tasks, which were unsuitable for people who had just sustained back injuries. She was subsequently terminated by the 1st Respondent shortly after her sick leave without any explanation.
The DDO protects persons with disability against discrimination, harassment and vilification. Under the DDO, it is unlawful for an employer to treat an employee less favourably, harass and dismiss an employee on the ground of the employee’s disability or for the fact that the employee takes sick leave as a result of a work-related injury.
By taking this case to the court, the EOC hopes to raise public awareness and remind employers that disability discrimination and harassment in the workplace is unlawful.
Equal Opportunities Commission
27 June 2023