The purpose of the legislation is to promote equality of opportunity in Hong Kong and to eliminate and to render unlawful harassment on the ground of sexuality (Part III of the Bill) and discrimination against person on the ground of family responsibility or family status (Part II of the Bill), sexuality (Part III of the Bill), or age (Part IV of the Bill) in certain specified areas (see below). The legislation also intends to give effect to various international obligations applicable to Hong Kong, for example, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Discrimination is defined to include both direct and indirect discrimination, and is made unlawful in the area of work, including -

(a) selection of employees, commission agents and contract workers;

(b) terms and conditions of engaging, access to opportunities for promotion, transfer, training and benefits, and dismissal or termination of, employees, commission agents and contract workers;

(c) admission to partnerships and professional or trade organisations, and the treatment of members by such bodies;

(d) exercise of powers by qualifying bodies; and

(e) provision of services by employment agencies,

and in other areas including -

(i) education;

(ii) access to places and vehicles

(iii) access to goods, services and facilities;

(iv) accommodation, other than within the home of the discriminator or a near relative or accommodation provided by a religious body;

(v) the disposition of interests in land, other than by will or by gift;

(vi) clubs, defined as voluntary associations of 30 or more persons, which maintain premises on which alcoholic beverages are served;

(vii) job application forms and certain other requests for information; and

(viii) the administration of laws and government programmes.


Discrimination in the form of harassment on the ground of sexuality is prohibited, in the areas of employment, education, accommodation and the provision of goods and services. Harassment by reason of the sexuality of the victim's relative or associate is also prohibited.

It is stated in the Bill that harassment includes the engagement in unwelcome conduct on the ground of a person's sexuality in circumstances in which a reasonable person would have anticipated that the person would be offended, humiliated or intimated.


Each Part of the Bill has its own exceptions in relation to the application of the provisions of discrimination on the ground of family responsibility or family status (Part I), sexuality (Part III), or age (Part IV) respectively. But there are also some general exceptions applicable throughout the Bill, for example, the providers of gifts to charities may lawfully discriminate in identifying a class of person eligible to receive charitable benefits and religious bodies may lawfully discriminte in relation to the performance of religious duties and in the training and appointment of person to perform such duties..

NOTE: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

If you would like further advice please contact:-

David Ellis
Johnson Stokes & Master
16th Floor, Prince's Building
10 Chater Road
Hong Kong

Telephone No: 2843 4226
Fax No: 2845 9121
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