Media Briefing Notes following the 72nd EOC Meeting of 20 March 2008
Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met today (Thursday, 20 March 2008) and discussed various matters related to the Commission’s business including the following :
1. Review of Work of EOC in 2007
2. EOC’s Work Plan for 2008/09
3. Reports of the Legal & Complaints Committee, Community Participation & Publicity Committee, Public Education & Research Committee, Administration & Finance Committee.
EOC Members reviewed the work progress in 2007, and discussed the work plan of the Commission for 2008/09. According to the EOC’s corporate statement of values, strategies and objectives for the achievement of its vision and mission, major work functions have been mapped out to deal with public enquiry and complaints handling; to provide promotion, education and publicity; to conduct policy and research; to provide legal service and corporate support. In planning the work for 2008/09, the Commission put emphasis on the preparation of the enactment of the Race Discrimination Bill, which included delivering programmes to promote racial harmony and making available essential information about the EOC’s work in ethnic minority languages.
Brief reports from the Commission’s four Committees were discussed, charting the progress of various aspects of the EOC’s work in the past quarter.
Comparison of complaint statistics for 2006 and 2007
From January to December 2007, a total of 874 complaints were received compared with 717 in the same period in 2006, representing an increase of 22%. Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), 512 complaints were received, an increase of 22% over the same period in 2006, when 420 were received. An increase of 20% was recorded for complaints received under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), 327 cases were received from January to December 2007, compared with 273 in the same period of 2006. Complaint cases received under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO) totaled 35 cases in 2007, 24 cases were recorded in 2006. By respective Ordinance, 59% of the complaints were on the DDO, 37% were on SDO and 4% on FSDO.
An increase in the number of pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment complaints has been recorded. In 2007, 140 complaints on pregnancy discrimination were received compared with 117 in 2006, representing an increase of 20%. 105 complaints on sexual harassment were received in 2007 against 85 in 2006, an increase of 24%.
The Commission has also recorded a significant increase in the number of disability discrimination complaints related to sick leave. From January to December 2007, 116 complaints relating to sick leave were received, compared with 68 in the same period in 2006, representing an increase of 71%. 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.
Statistics for the first two months of 2008
From January to February 2008, a total of 145 complaints were received compared with 108 in the same period of 2007, representing an increase of 34%. An increase of 129% was recorded for complaints received under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), 71 cases were received in the first two months of 2008, compared with 31 in the same period of 2007. Up until the end of February this year, 64 complaints were received under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), a decrease of 11% over the same period in 2007, when 72 were received. Complaint cases received under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO) totaled 10 cases so far this year, 5 cases were received in the same period last year.
Minutes of the 72nd 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 19 June 2008.
Media Enquiries : Ms. Mariana LAW (Tel No. : 2106-2226)
Equal Opportunities Commission
20 March 2008