Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

Media Briefing Notes following the 70th EOC Meeting of 20 December 2007


Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met today (Thursday, 20 December 2007) and discussed various matters related to the Commission's business including the following:

  1. Update on Progress of Formal Investigation on Accessibility in Certain Publicly Accessible Premises
  2. Report and Recommendations of the Working Group on the Desirability of Establishing and Equal Opportunities Tribunal
  3. Update on Seminar on Our Ten Years Under the DDO - Moving Forward, Changing Culture
  4. Reports of the Legal & Complaints Committee, Community Participation & Publicity Committee, Public Education & Research Committee, Administration & Finance Committee.

The Chairperson of the EOC, Mr. Raymond TANG, updated Members on the progress of the Formal Investigation on Accessibility in certain Publicly Accessible Premises. Since the commencement of the actual inspection in mid-June 2007, 44 out of the 60 sites selected for the exercise had been inspected. The entire inspection exercise is expected to complete by the end of February 2008. Some of the observations from the inspections included:

- no barrier free access at main entrances to some buildings
- a lack of awareness on barrier-free design such as misleading tactile path and use of slippery materials for ramps & tactile paths, etc.
- sub-standard facilities such as handrails and door width, etc.
- mismanagement such as misuse of disabled toilets and blockage of corridors

Commission Members discussed the recommendations of the Working Group on the desirability of establishing an Equal Opportunities Tribunal (EOT). Before taking steps to recommend to the Government the establishment of a specialized EOT, Members deliberated on the features of the proposed EOT, and interface between EOC and the proposed Tribunal.

Commission Members were updated on the progress of the preparation work for the Seminar on disability discrimination entitled 'Our Ten Years Under the DDO - Moving Forward, Changing Culture' to be held on 24 January 2008. The seminar will review the impact of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) since its implementation and the way forward to build a level-playing field for people with disabilities. Speakers of the Seminar include overseas academics and representatives from local disability community. The Seminar is expected to attract 250 to 300 participants. 

Statistics for eleven months

From January to November 2007, a total of 797 complaints were received compared with 669 in the same period last year, representing an increase of 20%. By respective Ordinance, 58% of the complaints were on the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), 38% were on the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) and 4% on Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO). Under the DDO, 459 complaints were received in the first eleven months of 2007, an increase of 18% over the same period in 2006, when 390 were received. An increase of 20% was recorded for complaints received under the SDO, 305 cases were received in the first eleven months of 2007, compared with 255 in the same period of last year.  Complaint cases received under the FSDO totaled 33 cases so far this year, 24 cases were recorded in the same period last year.

The Commission has recorded a significant increase in the number of disability discrimination complaints relating to sick leave. In the first eleven months of 2007, 109 complaints relating to sick leave were received, compared with 60 in the same period last year, representing an increase of 82%.  Dismissal remains the major cause for complaint. Under the DDO, it is unlawful for an employer to treat an employee less favourably on the ground of his/her chronic illness or the regular treatment for the illness. If an employee suffers from an illness and has taken a period of sick leave, the employer has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to the employee, unless this would impose unjustifiable hardship.

Minutes of the 70th 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 March 2008.

Statistical Annex

For media enquiries, please contact Ms. Mariana LAW at 2106-2226.

Equal Opportunities Commission

20 December 2007