Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

EOC Gives Legal Assistance in a Disability Discrimination Case


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (30 January 2024) 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 company (the Respondent) that operates piano learning centres. The Claimant worked as a Customer Service Officer at one of the branches of the Respondent. 

During the probationary period, the Claimant attended a medical consultation after having breathing difficulties and was subsequently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. She was given six days of sick leave. She then applied for sick leave from her immediate supervisor through instant messaging application and obtained approval for the leave. While on sick leave, the Claimant continued to experience rapid heart rate and sought medical consultation again. She was granted an additional 11 days of sick leave. She again submitted her medical certificate to her immediate supervisor via instant messaging application and obtained approval for the additional sick leave. However, on the eighth day of her sick leave, the immediate supervisor called and informed her that the Respondent had decided to terminate her employment with seven days’ notice, which would take effect just one day before her scheduled return to work. As such, the Claimant believed that the Respondent discriminated against her by terminating her employment on the ground of her disability (i.e. hyperthyroidism) and related sick leave, which constitutes an unlawful act under the DDO.

The DDO protects persons with disabilities against discrimination, harassment, and vilification. Under the DDO, it is unlawful for an employer to dismiss an employee on the ground of the employee’s disability. In cases where an employee’s disability affects his/her job performance, the employer should consider making reasonable accommodations to assist the employee in fulfilling the inherent requirements of the job before making a decision on dismissal.

By taking this case to the court, the EOC hopes to raise public awareness and remind employers that it may be unlawful to dismiss an employee due to disability and related sick leave.


Equal Opportunities Commission
30 January 2024