Equal Opportunities Commission

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Our Functions & Powers

Functions and Powers of the EOC

The main functions and powers of the EOC are to

  1. work towards the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, breastfeeding, disability, family status and race;

  2. promote equality of opportunities between men and women, between persons with a disability and persons without a disability, irrespective of family status and race;

  3. work towards the elimination of sexual harassment; the elimination of harassment on grounds of breastfeeding, as well as the elimination of  harassment and vilification on the grounds of disability and race;

  4. conduct investigation into complaints lodged under the Legislation and encourage conciliation between the parties in dispute;

  5. undertake self-initiated investigation into situations and issues giving rise to discrimination concerns under the Legislation;

  6. develop and issue codes of practice under the Legislation;

  7. keep under review the workings of the Legislation and when necessary, draw up proposals for amendments; and

  8. conduct research on issues relevant to discrimination and equal opportunities.

Corporate Strategies

In order to achieve our mission and to effectively perform our main functions, the EOC will apply the following strategies:

Promoting Equal Opportunities

  1. Emphasise on the responsibility of all sectors in the community to foster equal opportunities through education and promotion.

  2. Promote community awareness and acceptance of equal opportunities and the principles underpinning the legislation administered by the Commission.

  3. Maximise the use of technology and the public media and other means to educate the community, especially through school education.

  4. Develop Codes of Practice and guidelines under the anti-discrimination legislation.

Complaint Handling and Legal Services

  1. Handle complaints about discrimination and encourage and facilitate conciliation in a timely and effective manner.

  2. Participate in the Intervention and Amicus roles.

  3. Provide professional legal services to aggrieved persons including assistance in proceedings.

Eliminating Discrimination

  1. Combat systemic discrimination from the policy and structural perspectives and through the conduct of formal investigation.

  2. Advise government and the community of equal opportunity contraventions.

Building Networks and Image Building

  1. Maintain an appropriate international role for the Commission by actively participating in meetings of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions and other relevant United Nations meetings and hearings.

  2. Develop partnerships with stakeholders, where appropriate, to maximise our impact by combining, harnessing and pooling together resources.

  3. Develop our public image and strengthen our reputation as an independent, efficient and effective organisation.

  4. Promote our services and achievements through dissemination of useable and clear information.

Review and Monitor for Improvements

  1. Responsive to and initiate legislative and other changes.

  2. Review our functional work plans annually.

Operational Objective

The Commission will maintain an effective and efficient public enquiry and complaints handling system.

Major Tasks:

  1. Implement a set of user-friendly procedures for service users.
  2. Maintain a complaints database and management system to facilitate the collection, analysis and benchmarking of data about enquiries and complaints.
  3. Maintain an up-to-date and comprehensive complaint procedures manual for complaint handling staff.
  4. Provide thorough orientation training for complaint handling staff within three months of commencing employment in the use of the complaint procedures manual, understanding of anti-discrimination legislation and complaints database.
  5. Provide continuous training for complaint handling staff to enhance their skills in complaints handling with an emphasis on conciliation skills.
  6. Maintain constructive relationship with other agencies dealing with individual rights in Hong Kong and anti-discrimination agencies in the region for exchanges and sharing.
  7. Achieve high levels of customer satisfaction through monitoring and investigation into service complaints and compliments received.

The Commission will provide effective communication and education about equal opportunities for all sectors in the community.

Major Tasks:

  1. Build and maintain relationship with the print, broadcast and digital media to communicate the corporate positioning of the EOC and promote understanding of the EOC’s work, its functions and policies.
  2. Establish thought leadership on equal opportunity issues, and develop content for the EOC’s external communications, including messages, speeches and presentations.
  3. Organise and launch integrated publicity campaigns for promulgating the anti-discrimination ordinances and the value of equal opportunities.
  4. Leverage on online and social media platforms to promote the messages of equal opportunities and increase the EOC’s online exposure through regular posts and promotions. 
  5. Organise events and activities tailored for different sectors of the community, such as the business and education sectors, and especially the younger generation, with a view to mobilising them to play a part in combating discrimination.
  6. Foster relationship with stakeholders through meetings and collaborative projects. Build partnerships and provide assistance, as appropriate, to community organisations and NGOs on initiatives that aim to promote diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities.
  7. Develop and publish a range of information materials and publications on the provisions of the law in both print and electronic format for the community, media, public and private sectors.
  8. Keep track of the community and media sentiments, and provide strategic input for handling discrimination issues. 

The Commission will engage in robust review, research and policy work to combat systemic discrimination and to facilitate mainstreaming of equal opportunities in the society.

Major Tasks:

  1. Advocate for policy changes to promote equal opportunities and combat discrimination, and prioritise policy issues with reference to established practices and complaint figures.
  2. Conduct or commission research studies on possible areas of systemic discrimination and promote specific areas of equal opportunities policies and practices.
  3. Maintain effective relationship with relevant stakeholders on policy and research issues. Build and strengthen relationships with overseas organizations and bodies advocating human rights.
  4. Provide general and customized training and consultancy services on the subject of equal opportunities and anti-discrimination to the community.
  5. Recommend actions relating to formal investigation for the purposes of dealing with systemic discrimination.

The Commission will provide efficient and effective legal services.

Major Tasks:

  1. Tender internal advice on interpretation of the provisions of the anti-discrimination legislation.
  2. Provide legal assistance to aggrieved persons, which includes appearance in court as required and review the criteria for granting legal assistance to clients to facilitate assistance and to maximise impact.
  3. Collaborate closely with the complaint handling division to implement necessary improvements to ensure a quality and efficient service for clients in respect of lodging complaints and subsequent application for legal assistance.
  4. Facilitate the development of jurisprudence on discrimination legislation by participating in proceedings as Intervener or Amicus Curiae.
  5. Keep under review the working of the anti-discrimination legislation and draw up proposals for legislative amendments if necessary.
  6. Prepare for the implementation of new anti-discrimination legislation including the issue of Codes of Practice and Guidelines.

The Commission will manage its work, staff and resources effectively and will maintain efficient corporate support processes and systems.

Major Tasks:

  1. Uphold the values of EOC and Code of Conduct applicable to the staff of the Commission through orientation and refresher training.
  2. Facilitate the planning and implementation of the Commission's overall priorities and strategies and monitor and review performance pledges for adherence and improvement.
  3. Manage an efficient secretariat for the Commission and effectively liaise with EOC Members on matters related to the performance and operations of the Commission.
  4. Maintain an Information Technology System and assess available communication and other technologies to improve public access to the Commission; enhance internal communication by making available a variety of open communications channels.
  5. Recruit, retain and develop quality staff to support the Commission's objectives.
  6. Develop, implement and where necessary improve the human resources, administrative and procurement policies and practices paying due regard to best practices in the public and private sectors.
  7. Maintain a performance management system to sustain and enhance staff's productivity and development.
  8. Exercise prudent financial management in utilising the Commission's funds and develop and maintain monthly finance reporting and forecasting on an accrual basis.
  9. Assess use of rental accommodation and enter into new lease agreement on the best possible terms for the Commission.
  10. Make continuous improvements by implementing the recommendations of management or organisational reviews undertaken from time to time.
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