Media Briefing Notes following the 68th EOC Meeting of 20 September 2007
Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met today (Thursday, 20 September 2007) and discussed various matters related to the Commission's business including the following :
- Update on Progress of Formal Investigation on Accessibility in Certain Publicly Accessible Premises
- Seminar on Our Ten Years Under the DDO - Moving Forward, Changing Culture
- Racial Tolerance Survey
- Six Monthly Review of EOC's Work
- Reports of the Legal & Complaints Committee, Community Participation & Publicity Committee, Public Education & Research Committee, Administration & Finance Committee.
Commission Members discussed the proposal of organizing a seminar on disability discrimination entitled 'Our Ten Years Under the DDO - Moving Forward, Changing Culture' to be held in January 2008. The seminar is planned for reviewing the impact of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) since its implementation and the way forward to help building a level-playing field for people with disabilities.
The Chairperson of the EOC, Mr. Raymond TANG, updated Members on the latest situation regarding the Formal Investigation on Accessibility in certain Publicly Accessible Premises. Since the commencement of the actual inspection in mid-June 2007, 40 out of the 60 sites selected for the exercise had been inspected. On the whole, the physical inspection was progressing well and the entire audit exercise is expected to complete by early December 2007.
Commission Members also discussed the proposal on undertaking the Racial Tolerance Survey in preparation for the enactment of the Race Discrimination Bill. Considering EOC's future role as the statutory body responsible for implementing the Race Discrimination Ordinance, the survey data on racial discrimination issues will serve as baseline information for longitudinal comparison and provide valuable data to guide the EOC's promotion and public education strategies.
For noting and record purposes, EOC’s current major work / project progress and court actions undertaken during January to June 2007 was reported at the meeting today.
Statistics for 8 months
From January to August 2007, a total of 560 complaints were received compared with 494 in the same period last year, representing an increase of 13%. Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), up until August this year, 329 complaints were received, an increase of 16% over the same period in 2006, when 283 were received. An increase of 9% was recorded for complaints received under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), 211 cases were received in the first eight months of 2007, compared with 193 in the same period of last year. Complaint cases received under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO) totaled 20 cases so far this year, 18 cases were recorded in the same period last year. By respective Ordinance, 59% of the complaints were on the DDO, 37% were on SDO and 4% on FSDO.
The Commission has recorded a significant increase in the number of disability discrimination complaints relating to sick leave. In the first eight months of 2007, 78 complaints relating to sick leave were received, compared with 41 in the same period last year, representing an increase of 90%. It is unlawful under the DDO to discriminate against a person because of his/her disability. If an employee suffers from an illness and has taken a period of sick leave, the employer should consider providing accommodation to help the employee, unless it becomes unjustifiable hardship for the employer to do so.
Minutes of the 68th EOC meeting will be uploaded to the Commission's website at http://www.eoc.org.hk following Members' confirmation of its content at the next meeting on 20 December 2007.
Media Enquiries : Ms. Mariana LAW (Tel No. : 2106-2226)