Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination in the Workplace 1273 678 Adam Hugill
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Adam Hugill highlights the major legal protections against discrimination in Hong Kong. Four Discrimination Ordinances prevent against discrimination related to sex and pregnancy, disability, family status and race.

Moreover, he addresses the lack of progress in bringing forward additional legislation in the territory despite the efforts of the Equal Opportunities Commission to promote further anti-discrimination protection, in particular regarding sexual orientation and religious beliefs.

Visit our Wills of Concern campaign to find out more about how we are raising funds for AIDS Concern by writing wills for donations until end of 2019.

Adam Hugill簡述香港針對歧視的主要法律保障:四項歧視條例禁止針對性別和懷孕、殘疾,家庭狀況及種族的歧視。此外,他亦指出儘管平等機會委員會努力促進反歧視保障,在香港性取向和宗教信仰方面的保障仍然缺乏進展。

由即日起至2019年12月31日我們會以撰寫遺囑為關懷愛滋籌款。欲知詳情請參閱Wills of Concern。



Will Ripley
So this is a huge issue: preventing discrimination in the workplace. In Hong Kong what protections are in place?


Adam Hugill
Hong Kong has a few anti-discrimination protections in place. The first one to be enacted was the Sex Discrimination Ordinance and the purpose of that was to prevent against discrimination on the grounds of sex and pregnancy. Following that was the Disability Discrimination Ordinance which is to protect against discrimination on the grounds of disability, then there is Family Status which is to protect people who have responsibility for caring usually for children or adults. They were all enacted in about 1996-1997. Well after that – 12 years after that – Hong Kong passed the Race Discrimination Ordinance which is to protect against discrimination on the grounds of race and nationality. Compared to other Western or other developed jurisdictions, the anti-discrimination protection in Hong Kong is regarded as being pretty inadequate.


Will Ripley
Why do you think that is?


Adam Hugill
Many other jurisdictions, including our close neighbour Taiwan, have protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, religious belief, age, language and many other grounds which are just not in place in Hong Kong.


Will Ripley
Is there an effort on the way in order to try and change that?


Adam Hugill
In 2014 the Equal Opportunities Commission, which is the government body in charge for protecting AIDS discrimination, undertook a review and, during that review, they took a wide range of opinions from society and they put together 70 proposals for the government to change.


Will Ripley
How many have actually been?


Adam Hugill
Eight of them have – out of 70! – actually been put forward, and that’s still ______
That was put in place in 2016 and three years later the government is still considering passing just eight of them


Will Ripley
What are the next steps?


Adam Hugill
The EOC – Equal Opportunities Commission – is committed to trying to promote further anti-discrimination protection with a particular focus on sexual orientation and religious belief but unfortunately there is not a lot of government buy-in for this, so I think it will be a long time in the future before we see that.


Will Ripley
What do you think is going to take to get this issue higher up on the agenda here in Hong Kong?


Adam Hugill
I think that, because the government is so reluctant to push this forward, even though they make noises in that direction, the real anti-discrimination protection comes from the High Court and Court of Final Appeal, where a few decisions have taken place recently, and as a result of their decisions, and the quite progressive and liberal view at the Court of Final Appeal, rights and protections have been granted such a dependency visas, right to file joint tax, etc.


Will Ripley
So really these legal battles can take years but they are still the most effective way to bring about change.


Adam Hugill
Perversely, yes. A long legal battle is quicker than trying to go through the government.


Adam Hugill

Adam advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious legal and commercial issues, with a special emphasis on employment law in Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region.

All articles by : Adam Hugill
Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

For performance and security reasons we use Cloudflare
Google Analytics tracking code disabled/enabled
Google Fonts disabled/enabled
Google Maps disabled/enabled
video embeds (e.g. YouTube) disabled/enabled
View our Privacy Policy
We don't eat shark fin but our website does use cookies, mainly for analytics and provision of content from other websites. Define your Privacy Preferences and agree to our use of cookies. Privacy Policy
Skip to content