Sex Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 480) (SDO)
It is unlawful under the SDO to discriminate against a person on the ground of sex, marital status, pregnancy or breastfeeding in prescribed areas of activities, including:
- provision of goods, services and/or facilities
- disposal and/or management of premises
- eligibility to vote for and to be elected or appointed to advisory bodies
- participation in clubs
- activities of the Government
In addition to protecting against discrimination, the SDO also protects a person from sexual harassment and victimization in prescribed areas of activities, including employment, education, provision of goods, services and/or facilities, disposal and/or management of premises, and membership of clubs.
The provisions relating to breastfeeding discrimination and harassment on the ground of breastfeeding came into operation on 19 June 2021. As a result, the SDO also provides protection from harassment on the ground of breastfeeding, as well as both direct and indirect discrimination for breastfeeding mothers (including women who express breastmilk), in the aforesaid prescribed areas of activities.
In relation to the provision of goods, services and/or facilities, the SDO protects service providers from sexual harassment and harassment on the ground of breastfeeding by customers (and vice versa). This is so even if the harassment took place outside Hong Kong but on Hong Kong registered aircraft and ships.
The SDO renders sexual harassment and harassment on the ground of breastfeeding between workplace participants at a common workplace unlawful, even where there is no employment or employment-like relationship between them. A "workplace participant" covers persons working in the same workplace, being an employer, an employee, a contract worker, a principal, a commission agent, a partner, an intern and a volunteer.
The SDO protects members or prospective members of a club from sexual harassment and harassment on the ground of breastfeeding by the management of the club.