In November 2018 the Hong Kong government gazetted the Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018 (the Bill) (see our Legal Update Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018 gazetted in November 2018). The Bill sought to implement a number of the prioritised recommendations made in the Equal Opportunities Commission’s Report on the Discrimination Law Review.

On 11 June 2020 the Legislative Council passed the Bill, which will amend a number of sections in the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (FSDO) and Racial Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) on 11 June 2020. While we are yet to find out what amendments may have been made during the third reading of the Bill, we understand that the Bill as passed will:

  • Amend the SDO to provide protection from direct and indirect discrimination, as well as victimisation for breastfeeding women in the areas of employment, the provision of services and facilities, and education;
  • Provide protection from sexual, racial and disability harassment in common workplaces where there is no employment relationship (e.g., consignment workers, volunteers and interns);
  • Provide protection from racial and disability harassment where customers harass service providers, including where the acts occur on Hong Kong-registered aircraft or ships and while they are overseas;
  • Introduce protection from direct and indirect racial discrimination and racial harassment by imputation under the RDO;
  • Amend the RDO to protect an associate of a person from direct racial discrimination and racial harassment;
  • Provide protection from sexual and disability harassment for members and prospective members of clubs, by the management of the clubs; and
  • Repeal the requirement for there to be an intention to discriminate as a pre-condition to awarding damages for acts of indirect discrimination under the SDO, FSDO and RDO.

For technical reasons, the introduction of the prohibition of harassment on the ground of breastfeeding will be dealt with separately in the Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 2020 (see our Legal Update Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 2020 Gazetted).

More details will follow when we see the final version of the Bill.