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Content 1.

Foreword

2.

Basic concepts and the four anti-discrimination legislations

3.

Procedures on responding to sexual discrimination and sexual harassments

4.

FAQ on responding to discrimination

5.

AAF significant case demonstrations

6.

Resources

6.1 Useful contacts 6.2 Online resources


Since 1997, the Association for the Advancement of

Feminism has set up a sex discrimination and legal advice hotline. Every year we handled hundreds of telephone inquiries and assisted in cases which involved dealing with employers, the EOC and the courts. We are familiar with the laws and a variety of complaint handling practices, and also aware of the difficulties

新婦女協進會 The Association for the Advancement of Feminism

1. Foreword

people will face discrimination. It is not common to have anti-sex discrimination hotline and support services, thus we hoped that through producing this pamphlet, we could record our experiences in handling sex discrimination cases and serve as a reference for the victims and others support groups. Legal protection is only one of the methods, we need to have multiple ways to prevent and treat sex discrimination incidents. We thus encourage the public to embrace the spirit of equality and justice, work together to fight against sex discrimination and create a gender friendly environment. The Chairperson of the Association for the Advancement of Feminism Sally Choi

5


2. Basic concepts and the four anti-discrimination legislations

Q:

What is discrimination?

A:

There are two forms of discrimination include direct

and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less

2.1

What is discrimination?

favourably than another under comparable circumstances

2.2

What are the existing anti-discrimination legislations in

because of his/her personal characteristic.

Hong Kong? 2.3

What are the scopes under protection?

Indirect discrimination occurs when a same requirement (rule,

2.4

Is there any time frame for making a complaint?

policy, practice, criterion or procedure) or condition, which

新婦女協進會 The Association for the Advancement of Feminism

2.1

cannot be justified is applied equally on all people but which has an unfair effect on a particular group because of their gender, marital status, family status, pregnancy or disability. 2.2 Q:

What are the existing anti-discrimination legislations in Hong Kong?

A:

The four anti-discrimination legislations include:

《性別歧視條例》1995 Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) 《殘疾歧視條例》1995 Disability Discrimination Ordinance(DDO) 《家庭崗位歧視條例》1997 Family Status Discrimination Ordinance(FSDO) 《種族歧視條例》2008 Race Discrimination Ordinance(RDO)

7


Q:

What are the areas under protection?

A:

Different anti-discrimination legislation has different

protection areas. Take the Sex Discrimination Ordinance as example, the SDO offers protection in 7 areas, include: employment; education; provision of goods, facilities or services; disposal or management of premises; eligibility to vote for and to be elected or appointed to advisory bodies; participation in clubs; activities of

新婦女協進會 The Association for the Advancement of Feminism

2.3

Government. 2.4 Q:

Is there any time limit for making a complaint?

A:

Yes. The Equal Opportunities Commission accepts cases

that have been happened with 12 months; the District Courts accept cases happened within 24 months, exclusive the period under the Equal Opportunities Commission investigation.

9


What should I do if I experienced sex discrimination/sexual harassment?

6A. Company 1. Clear rejection

internal complaint system (employer)

2. Stay calm 6B. EOC

Informal complaint – Solve the dispute privately Formal complaint – lodge a complaint according to the company complaint procedure

Handle by the EOC - Early conciliation

Success: reconciled Fail: lodge a formal complaint Complaint is substantiated: Internal punishment or reconciliation

Including written complaint and investigation by the EOC

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3. Sex discrimination/sexual harassment handling procedures

Complaint could not be established Lodge a complaint to the EOC

Success

case close

Fail

Investigation begin

3. Detail recording gather evidence through written responds

6C. District court Fail:Seek legal assistance

4. Gather evidences

6D. Police (for cases 5. Lodge a formal com-

involve criminal offence, e.g.

plaint

indecent assault)

Success→ Follow-up through legal channels (such as a lawsuit)

Success: Conciliation  case close

Fail→ Apply for other forms of assistance, such as from Legal Aid Department

Early conciliation: Early conciliation is optional, both complainant and respondent can request to investigate before conciliation, please refer to 4.9 for further explanation.

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4.1 Clearly reject any forms of sexual discrimination and harassment Q: What should I do if I am being discriminated? A: Clearly reject and protest against any forms of discrimination, request to stop the offensive behaviour and demand for apology If the situation continues, you may send a letter to the infringer to stop the behaviour, and retain a copy of the letter. 4.2 Stabilise your emotion and do not blame yourself Q: I felt disgusted, having nightmares and do not want to go to work after the incident, am I overreacting? A: No, this is normal. Common reactions you may have include self-blaming, panic, insomnia, fear of work, cannot concentrate on work and even have depressive symptoms. 4.3 Seek help and support from your relatives and friends Q: I would like to discuss with my family and friends, but do not want them to worry about. A: peak out is a very positive behavior, you may also seek help and professional advise from anti-sexual discrimination hotline services, social workers, and clinical psychologists.

• Create a folder, save all the relevant information and records; • Record in words about the incident, including the date, time, venue, witness, prosecutor’s behaviour, and your reaction; • If the situation continued, record the details of every incident; • Take a photo or do a drawing to indicate the location of the involved parties; • Record in detail how the incident affected your emotion, living and work, and indicates the frequency of such influences.

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4. FAQ on responding to discrimination

4.4 Record the details of the incident Q: I felt so released after telling the people I trust about the incident and I decided to launch a complaint. However, there was only me and the persecutor during the incident and the persecutor has a high social status, will other trust me? A: Many cases of sexual discrimination/harassment do not involve the presence of a third party. In any case, you need to have a detailed record of the incident to use as evidence:

4.5 Gather evidence and find a witness Q: If I have recorded the incident in detail, can I launch a complaint? A: • To protect yourself from being accused for false accusation, you may prepare documents which help to prove your work ability, including job evaluation report, and any emails and letters communication with your supervisor, etc. • May request your employer to issue proofs regarding any job evaluation, supervisor’s assessment and work requirement etc.

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4.6 Seek assistance from employer if consider to resolve privately 4.6.1 Q: Can I try to resolve the incident private without making it publicised? A: Yes you can, there are two ways of launching a complaint: formal and informal. Informal complaint • Seek your boss (or anyone senior in a workplace) to be the mediator, and resolve the incident through private consultation. Formal complaint • Many organizations and institutions do have antidiscrimination policies, and procedure on launching a complaint against discrimination. • There could be mechanism in establishing a committee in handling complaints; you may seek the committee’s help for counseling service, change in work position and complaint referral etc.

4.6.2 Q: Which type of complaint would be more appropriate? A: You may consider the comparisons listed below before making your decision: Type of complaint

Pros

Informal

• • • •

Formal

• •

Cons

• Not punitive but compensatory Simple procedure, • more flexible Faster resolution encourage and create a more • friendly working environment •

May not be able to induce an alarming effect Difficult to implement many resolutions Company usually does not have formal recording The management may not be able to trace past records

Formal recording • The managers need to handle • the complaint • according to guidelines The prosecutor could be punished according to company regulation

Relatively complicate procedure Timely The handling approach may not match with the complainant’s needs, such as the possibility of not getting compensation Less flexibility in handling

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• Find a witness who could testify for you

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Complaint channels

Pros

EOC

• • • • •

4.7 Three ways for launching a formal complaint 4.7.1 Q: Besides launching a formal complaint to your employer, do I have other choice? A: Yes, you may also consider the following three methods, 1) lodge a complaint to the EOC , 2) file a court case to the District Court, 3) report to the police.

District court

• •

Police report

Cons

• Confidential Reconcile under EOC’s moderation Facilitate mutual • understanding and helps case assessment Documents could be used as court evidence If conciliation fails, EOC can help in providing legal • assistance •

Improve existing legislation Gain media and public attention

• •

You should report to police when involve any form of criminal activities, such as indecent assault, videotaping and distributing obscene messages The convicted harasser would bear criminal liability , with criminal record and punishment

• •

• •

Maybe not be able to get public pressure in helping to seek justice The outcome of reconciliation depends on both parties, it maybe timely when agreement could not be reached. EOC does not have any rights to adjudicate. Conciliation does not possess the power as court order EOC conciliation procedure is complicated and the successful rate is low

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4.7.2 Q: What are the differences? A: Comparisons as follow:

Litigation cost may be high If the case failed, may need to pay high court cost Timely Media attention may cause pressure The employer and EOC would stop their investigation after the case has been reported to the police Criminal cases require higher standard of proof than civil cases Criminal case investigation and public hearing may cause significant pressure on both parties

17


Q:

What is the difference between indecent assault and sexual

harassment?

Indecent assault •

Criminal offence (police would •

Civil liability (collect evidence by

gather evidence, high standard of

victim , lower standard of proof,

proof , punitive conviction)

remedial)

Criminal intent

No specific relationship

Special

Sexual Harassment

protection

for

Does not consider the intent or motive

children •

In a specific relationship (such as

(children under 16 could not be

colleagues or schoolmates , refer

consentient)

to SDO section 23, 24, 39 and 40)

Feeling of victim is not a necessary •

No any special rule for protection of

condition

children under 16

Police investigation

No time bar in prosecection

The victim should feel offended, humiliated and threatened

Under EOC investigation or adduceevidencing and sue by victim

2-year recourse period

4.8 Investigation after lodging a formal complaint Q: Once I decide to launch a complaint to the EOC, what information should I provide? A: The EOC requires the complainant must file a written complaint together with a complaint form, which include information as follows: • Details and dates involved • Your personal information (name, contact information, sex, state of pregnancy, or marital status, etc.) • Name of the respondent(s) (name of person or company) and contact information • Information supporting your claim of discrimination, sexual harassment or victimization; • Details of any detriment or emotional disturbance you have suffered because of the discriminatory actions; • Information on witness(es). If you have difficulties preparing a written complaint, the EOC staff can help you. The EOC would give a written reply to you, and consult you and the defendant for early conciliation.

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4.7.3

4.9 EOC encourages early conciliation Q: What is early conciliation? A: Before formal investigation, EOC would consult both parties whether they would agree on early conciliation. If both parties agree, the EOC would start the conciliation process without investigation.

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4.10.1 Q: How does the EOC investigate a complaint? A: Allegations by the complainant are sent to the respondent(s) for comment. Responses are then made available to the complainant. • Witness statements are taken and pertinent materials gathered to review to see if the case should be discontinued or proceed to conciliation. • All information gathered during the investigation stage is kept confidential from third parties but may be used in court proceedings. 4.10.2 Q: How does the EOC conciliate a case? A: • EOC would try to settle the matter through conciliation, this is to negotiate a settlement by both parties to the dispute.. • Settlement agreements are equivalent to contracts and are legally binding 4.10.3 Q: Is that the EOC could terminate the investigation? A: The EOC will decide not to conduct or to discontinue an investigation into a complaint if: • the act complained of is not unlawful under the SDO; • the aggrieved person does not desire to continue with the investigation; • more than 12 months have passed since the act was done; • the complaint cannot be appropriately pursued as a representative complaint; • the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, misconceived or lacking in substance.

4.10.4 Q:

What are the commons problems that I could encounter during

the investigation? A:

You may need to be prepared in facing the following problems:

Problems

Possible handling methods

I also could not get in touch with the investigator,

Lodge a complaint to the EOC regarding the

or the attitude of the investigator is not good.

investigator and request for a change

The conciliation officer always asked me

to lower the settlement terms during the conciliation

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4.10 Investigation and mediation

Record the conversation between you and the conciliation officer

seek an explanation from the conciliation officer

Seek help or legal advice from nongovernmental organisations

Investigator’s questions are difficult to answer

Request the investigator to simplify or make clear the questions

time for responding too short

Request for a reasonable time arrangement

Responds to poorly organised information

Request the investigator to analyse according to existing legislations, and facilitate the complainant to understand the situation

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4.10.5 Q: What should I do if the EOC terminated the investigation? A: You could seek other forms of assistance: • You may seek help from the Legal and Complaints Committee of the EOC to ask for a change in investigator, reinvestigate your case or apply for legal assistance • Seek help from labour unions or organizations working on sexual equality • File civil suit to the district court

4.11.1 Q: What settlement terms can I ask for? A: Possible terms could be written or verbal apology, a transfer or re-employment, and financial compensation. There maybe victims requesting for better equality policy, such as enhancing organization/company’s equal opportunities policies and guidelines against sexual harassment. 4.11.2 Q: If the prosecutor denies giving an apology, could I insist? A: ay request, but the chance of success would not be high. The case of Ma Bik Yung v. Ko Chuen, in 2001, The Court of Final Appeal decided that the Court has the power to order a defendant to make an apology, even if the defendant is unwilling to apologize. However, the Court should only exercise such power in rare cases with exceptional circumstances, especially when the defendant is unwilling to do so. The Court needs to be satisfied that the apology order will redress the plaintiff’s loss and damage to some extent, and it is a reasonable act for the defendant to perform, after taking into account issues such as whether there are any alternative remedies, or whether the apology order will infringe the defendant’s rights to freedom of expression and of thought. If the defendant refuses to apologize, it is likely that the quantum of damages would be substantially increased.

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4.11 Settlement and compensation terms

4.11.3 Q: Will asking for financial compensation be seen as too greedy for money? A: It is your rights and is fair to ask for any forms of compensation that could compensate your lost. Even court ruling will also require the defendant to give financial compensation and the amount of compensation reflect the seriousness of the incident. You may use the compensation in many ways, such as donating to

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4.11.4 Q: How much is regard as reasonable compensation? A: Although the EOC is not a court, many parties would hire a lawyer to assist the mediation process. The amount of a claim for compensation should make reference to similar cases. A claimant does not need to show medical evidence of injury to feelings, and does not need to proof the seriousness of the injury in regards to the damage compensation. However, the higher the seriousness of the violations and negative impacts you can demonstrate, the higher the amount of compensation. Guidelines amount for injury to feelings compensation (applicable to any kinds of discrimination and harassment cases*): Case banding:

Compensation (Sterling Pounds)

4.11.5 Q: Is the settlement agreement legally binding? A: Yes. The agreement is a contract between the two parties and is legally binding. All information gathered or heard during conciliation is kept confidential and will not be used for court proceedings.

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certain non-governmental organization. There was once a case the victim thought the prosecutor has disrepute the school and request to compensate the school.

Compensation (HK Dollars)**

Higher band 18,000-30,000 (For the most serious cases, for example where there has been a lengthy campaign of discrimination in particular sex and race discrimination)

221,400 - 369,000

Middle band (For serious cases that do not justify an award in the highest band)

6,000-18,000

73,800 – 221,400

Bottom band (For less serious cases, for example where there has been an isolated incident of discrimination)

500-6,000

6,150 – 73,800

* The above compensation rate is according to the judgment in the case of Da’Bell v NSPCC[2010] which has set out new Vento guideline figures with an increase to account for inflation. Further reference to L v David Roy Burton, paragraph 30.

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4.11.6.1 Sexual harassment

4.11.6.2 Sexual harassment

Yuen Sha Sha v Tse Chi Pan (DCEO 1/1998)

L v Burton (DCEO15/2009)

Case nature Comparison Date of judgment:

7 March 1999

23 August 2010

Background:

• •

• •

Period under sexual harassment:

The Plaintiff and the Defendant were secondary school classmates and lived in the same university hostel The Plaintiff discovered the camcorder and found the images of her changing clothes and her bra can be seen from the tape A claim has been taken out by the Plaintiff against the Defendant under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance

Around half a year

• •

The Plaintiff worked for a marketing enterprise and the Defendant was a general manager The Defendant repeatedly touched the Plaintiff’s body and requested for having sex with the Plaintiff After the Plaintiff rejected the Defendant’s request, the Defendant fired her A claim has been taken out by the Plaintiff against the Defendant under the SDO

More than two months

The Defendant’s sexual • harassment acts: •

The Defendant put a camcorder in the Plaintiff’s room and recorded her images of changing clothes. The Defendant shared the images with another classmate

• • • • •

The Defendant put one hand on his private part and leered at the Plaintiff twice Stroked the Plaintiff’s thigh Touched the Plaintiff’s breast lightly Indicated that he wanted to have sex with the Plaintiff Dismissing the Plaintiff without reason

Harm done to the Plaintiff:

Felt violated, exploited, betrayed, humiliated and hurt. Afraid to change clothes in hostel room Unable to sleep alone in hostel room Unable to attend class for 2-3 weeks Weight lost 6 lbs

The Plaintiff was extremely distressed and humiliated towards the Defendant’s oppressive abuse The Plaintiff suffered anxiety, stress, humiliation The Plaintiff suffered from physical injury and insomnia

• • • • •

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4.11.6 References: Different kinds of discrimination cases in comparison

• •

27


• •

Assessment of damages and amount (HK Dollars):

• • • • • • • • • •

An act of sexual harassment which is rendered unlawful under s.39(3) of Part IV of the SDO has been committed A written apology from the Defendant

An act of sexual harassment has been committed

Injury to feelings ($50000) The Plaintiff indicated she was shocked, hurt, upset and distressed by the action of the Defendant. Exemplary Damages ($20,000) The betrayal and breach of trust The Defendant’s action occurred over an extended period of time The Defendant showed the video with images of the Plaintiff in a state of undress/nakedness to other people Aggravated Damages ($10,000) The Defendant’s conduct of prolonging the settlement of the matter and failing to tender apology until the last minute The two telephone calls to the Plaintiff on the day before the hearing with the aim of putting pressure on her to abandon her claim against him. Resulting in further distress to the Plaintiff

• • • • • • •

Injury to feelings ($100,000) Same as above “the damages” Loss of earnings ($77,039) The Plaintiff was able to get a claim equals to the salary of 5 months and 14 days This counted the Plaintiff’s unemployment period Exemplary Damages ($20,000) Compensatory award is insufficient to punish the Defendant for his outrageous conduct, and a claim of $20,000 to the Plaintiff is appropriate

Banding of injury of feelings:

N.A.

Middle Band

Total quantum (HK Dollars):

$80,000

$197,039

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Court’s holding:

29


4.11.6.4 Pregnancy discrimination Yuen Wai Han v South Elderly Affairs Ltd (DCEO 6/2001) Yuen Wai Han v South Elderly Affairs Ltd (Appeal) (CACV 172 /2003)

4.11.6.3 Pregnancy discrimination Chan Choi Yin v Toppan Forms (Hong Kong) Ltd (DCEO 6/2002)

比較項目 Comparison Date of judgment:

3 March 2006

28 October 2002 Appeal judgment: 29 November 2004

Background:

The Plaintiff has been employed as Account Manager in the Defendant’s company since 1997. Management attitude became hostile and less favourable treatment after she became pregnant, had a miscarriage and took pregnancy related sick leave and maternity leave before and after childbirth between 1998 and 2000 Required to work and return office during sick leave and blackstorm warnings. The Plaintiff has been transferred to another team and later being demoted, which led to a decrease in salary Derogatory and insulting remarks made by senior management staff during her pregnancy The Plaintiff has lodged a complaint to the EOC, later the defendant requested the Plaintiff to withdraw her complaint at the EOC or she would be dismissed The Plaintiff was dismissed in 2000 Sued the company under SDO

Denied that the Plaintiff’s salary package was reduced Transfer to another team was an usual management decision The Plaintiff’s relationships with her colleagues and the clients were poor, therefore warning letters were issued Denied any of its staff had ever made any derogatory remarks on the Plaintiff’s pregnancy The reviews were targeting the Plaintiff’s work performance and ability

• • • • • • The defence

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Plaintiff was a registered social worker, and the Defendant was an elderly home which the Plaintiff has applied for the post of supervisor. The Plaintiff has indicated her pregnancy during the interview. The Interviewer was satisfied with her qualification and both sides have signed the employment contracts. The Plaintiff has resigned from her original work a week before the start of the new contract but she was called by the Defendant and rescinded the contract on the same day. The Defendant told her that after discussion with other directors, because she was pregnant she was not suitable for the job. Besides, upon the plaintiff to lodge a complaint with the EOC, The defendant deliberately making false report to the police claiming the Plaintiff has provided false information when she applied for the employment Sued the company under the SDO

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案件類型

Case nature

The Defendant claimed the decision for the rescission was based on the fact that she was inexperienced and did not know how to handle applications for social welfare allowance.

31


• • •

Assessment of • damages and amount • (HK Dollars): • • • • • •

A legitimate inference can be drawn that the Plaintiff had been discriminated because of her pregnancy. The Defendant has failed to give reasonable and adequate explanation. The Defendant is liable under s. 8 & 9 of the SDO should be paid for the damages.

Loss of Earnings ($164,505.20) Assuming the amount earned by the plaintiff without dismissal Further Loss of Earnings ($179,650.95) A claim of 6 months salary loss of the Plaintiff’s Injury to feeling($200,000.00) 2 years of unfavourable and discriminatory treatments Deprived of a favourable reference for the 3 years during the legal proceeding Appropriate amount to the higher end of the middle band

• •

• • •

• • • • • •

Banding of injury to

The Defendant’s malicious conduct in making unfounded allegations against the Plaintiff to the police. The defendant refers to the plaintiff’s lack of experience was the only reason for the cancellation of contract The Plaintiff’s pregnancy was at least one of the reasons for the rescission of her contract The Defendant had discriminated against the Plaintiff directly under SDO. Loss of Earnings ($62,500) Assuming the amount earned by the plaintiff without resigning from the original job Injury to feeling ($62,500) The Defendant’s malicious conduct in making unfounded allegations against the Plaintiff to the police, which had further intensified her sufferings in the incident. Pregnancy discrimination is a very serious offense, the amount of compensation normally would noe be less than the $ 50,000, this reflects the court’s determination on protecting pregnant women. Punitive Damages ($30,000) Same reason as above The amount has decreased to $10,000 after appeal

Highest Band

Middle Band

$544,156.15

$155,000, After appeal $135,000

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Court’s holding:

feelings: Total quantum (HK Dollars):

* According to the three bandings of Injury of feelings from Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2003] 1 RLR 102 (£500-5000, £5000-15000, £15000-25000), this case should not be classified under Bottom band, but in-between Middle and Bottom Band.

33


Date Judgment:

of

Background:

28 September 2000

The defence:

• •

Court’s decision:

Assessment of damages and amount: (HK Dollars):

• • • • •

Three Plaintiffs in this case, namely K, Y and W, applied for the posts of ambulance man, fireman and customs officer respectively in the Fire Services Department and the Customs and Excise Department. The Plaintiffs’ offers of employment were either withheld or terminated following offers of conditional employment because they had a parent with mental illness. Each of these three claims was commenced under s 72 of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), seeking damages and other relief for the Government having committed an act of discrimination against the plaintiff.

Past loss of earnings (including interest)

106,510.28

96,939.54

97,884.13

Future loss of earnings

194,224.00

114,300.00

42,480.00

Loss of housing benefit

299,400.00

267,300.00

409,860.00

Loss of pension benefit

262,009.00

168,996.00

314,432.00

• •

It was a common ground for the government to reject the application if the applicant has parent having a history of inherent mental disorder The plaintiff could not fulfill the requirement on the interests of public safety.

the safety to fellow employees and members of the public was agreed to be an inherent job requirement for all the three positions above No all applicants with a family history of mental disorder were rejected for employment The general risk for developing mental illness for current employees is the same as the plaintiff the court regards the disciplinary forces have accepted such risk from their employees the Departments’ discriminatory acts could not be exempted and hence were unlawful

Assessment of damages on earnings and welfare - The Court tried to put the Plaintiffs into the position they would have been if there were no unlawful discriminatory acts

Total quantum

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Case nature 4.11.6.5 Disability Discrimination K & Ors v Secretary for Justice DCEO 3, 4 and 7/1999 Comparison

Damages for injury to feelings had been the injury has been prolonged by the defence and attitude of the Departments K

Y

W

Damages for injury to feelings

100,000.00

100,000.00

150,000.00

Interest thereon (11.5%)

23,000.00

28,206.94

46,478.70

K

Y

W

985,143.28

775,742.48

1,061,134.80

(HK Dollars):

35


5. AAF significant case demonstrations 5.1

University New Student Orientation (2002)

During an orientation camp for new students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, some students were shouting obscene slogans and the complainant felt offended. She then wrote a complaint letter to the CUHK Committee on Sexual Harassment Policy, and also sought help from AAF. AAF has provided various forms of assistance to the complainant during the complaint process , such as pro bono legal assistance, accompanied to meet with the Convenor of the Panel Against Sexual Harassment and the investigation team, helped in moving to another hostel to avoid hostile non-physical attack by other residents, accompanied the complainant to meet with the EOC chairperson who successfully started the informal investigation, and EOC organized an university sexual harassment forum

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4.12 Seek legal aid when conciliation failed Q: If the conciliation failed, would the EOC offer any further help? A: • you may consider issuing legal proceedings, and apply to the EOC for assistance • The EOC Legal and Complaints Committee would decide whether your case would grant assistance • Factors affecting the decision include whether the case raises a question of principle; and whether the case is so complex that it is unreasonable to expect persons to deal with them unaided.

Follow-up action: • AAF continued to strive for the expansion of the protection area under sexual harassment definition to include learning environment; the relevant legislative amendments have been entered into force in October 2008 • AAF has developed a checklist on monitoring the sexual harassment policy of the universities. These three years we have been regularly monitoring the 8 tertiary institutions by using the checklist, and the findings have been announced publicly.

37


Female teacher cracking the “Dress” code (2007)

During her employment as a secondary school teacher at the HKCWC Fung Yiu King Memorial Secondary School, the complainant did not dress in skirt as the school required. Because of this, the complainant has been repeatedly criticized and forced to resign. She lodged a complaint to the EOC but the school refuse to settle . The complainant later filed a case to the District Court on the ground of the school violating the SDO. After three years, the school finally agreed to settle , and has apologized and compensated the complainant. Complainant’s voice: “I am particularly grateful to the AAF for providing me with legal consultancy service and other assistance during the investigation, including accompanied me to meet the EOC investigator and helped me to fight for legal assistance by the EOC. With the support from AAF, I was able to fight for equality and justice, and finally resolved the dispute. As recipients, I deeply experienced the crucial role played by NGO in the fighting for justice and anti-discrimination.

5.3

Sexual harassment in the catering industry (2008)

During her employment as a cashier at The Hui restaurant, a male coworker often intentionally touched her breast with his hand and called her “big boobs”, and she felt humiliated. “I have complained to my boss. However my boss did not take any appropriate action, She even asked me not to call the police. Afterwards my boss did not handle my complaint at all and the situation got worse, I was finally dismissed by the boss.” The complainant lodged a complaint to the EOC accusing the company for the lack of policy prohibiting sexual harassment. However the complainant did not know how to give written replies during the investigation. She later sought AAF’s legal assistance, AAF explained the main points of EOC questions and accompanied her to meet the investigator. Finally she successfully got the assistance from EOC in bringing the case to court.

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5.2

39


6.2 Online resources

6.1 Useful contacts Organisation 1. Equal Opportunities Commission

Contact

2708 3600

Advocate and campaign on women’s rights and gender equality. Please further contact for information on discrimination regarding sex, pregnancy, marital status, family status and sexual harassment. 3. Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women RainLily

2375 5322 (24 hrs)

Hong Kong's first rape crisis center with a 24 hours hotline providing one-stop service for the victims of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. 4. Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

2770 8668

Campaigns and lobbies on labour rights, has been fought for the case on pregnancy discrimination. 5. Hong Kong Unison

2789 3246

A non-governmental organisation to service Hong Kong’s Ethnic Minority Residents. Please further contact for information regarding racial discrimination. 6. Rehabilitation Alliance Hong Kong

Website

2511 8211

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is a statutory body to implement the four anti-discrimination ordinances. A specific function of the EOC is to deal with complaints of discrimination, harassment and vilification under the ordinances. 2. The Association for the Advancement of Feminism Antidiscrimination legal consultation service

Organisation

2337 0826

Co-ordinate all categories of people with disabilities to fight for “Full Participation and Equal Opportunity” in social affairs. Please further contact for information regarding disability discrimination.

1. Equal Opportunities Commission (Hong Kong)

http://www.eoc.org.hk

新婦女協進會 The Association for the Advancement of Feminism

6. Resources

EOC is the statutory body to implement the four anti-discrimination ordinances. You may lodge a complaint to the EOC and the EOC would investigate and facilitate conciliation among involved parties. The EOC website provides information on the four anti-discrimination ordinances, including the rights of the publics, Code of Practices, online courses on handling sexual harassment in workplace and school, and local and overseas discrimination cases.

2. The Association for the Advancement of Feminism (Hong Kong)

http://www.aaf.org.hk/

Advocate and campaign on women’s rights and gender equality. Please further contact for information on discrimination regarding sex, pregnancy, marital status, family status and sexual harassment. AAF website further provides teaching materials on gender equality, organization activities, news and updates. You may also visit the Youtube channel on the forum on sexual harassment in university (19 June 2009): http://www.youtube.com/user/HKAAF38

3. Expert Advice on Equal Opportunities (United Kingdom)

http://www.aboutequalopportunities.co.uk/

Advisory on equal opportunities in everyday life, detailing public rights and examining the impact of discrimination on people, policy and society.

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6.2 Online resources Organisation 4. Equality and Human rights Commission (United Kingdom)

Website

The Association for the Advancement of Feminism http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/

A single law-enforcement Commission acting as one source of information and advice on human rights and tackle discrimination on multiple levels.

5. Australian Human Rights Commission (Australia)

http://www.hreoc.gov.au/

An independent statutory organisation aiming to raise public awareness on human rights and equality issues, to implement discrimination and human rights laws, and handle discrimination and human rights complaints. The website includes detailed information on the cases and other educational information.

6. Modern Women’s Foundation (Taiwan)

http://www.38.org.tw/Page_Show.asp?Page_ ID=340

Offers woman victims and public professional information and service in legal and medical service, and methods to avoid sex discrimination and harassment in workplace and school.

We are a women’s advocacy group in Hong Kong, The Association for the Advancement of Feminism (AAF) 新婦女協進 會. We have been active in promoting greater gender equality and fighting for women’s rights in Hong Kong since 1984. We closely monitor public and social policy that affect women’s rights and gender equality, and make our voices heard through research, advocacy, publication and community action and education. AAF provides free legal consultation service for those who suspected to have experience unequal treatment or discrimination due to their gender. Hotline: 27083600 AAF has also set up a Women Resources Centre, providing information on various women’s issues. Enquiry: 27200891. Online resources support: http:// womenresources.org/ G/F, No. 119 Lei Yeung House, Lei Cheng Uk Estate, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon. Tel.: 27200891 Fax: 27200205 Email: aaf@aaf.org.hk Website: www.aaf.org.hk


Published by: The Association for the Advancement of Feminism Editorial Committee: Chong Yiu-kwong, Choi Wing-sze, Au Mei-po, Hui Pui-lam Design: Ah 7 Publishing Date: November 2011 Acknowledgement: The Marden Foundation for sponsorship



A Practical Handbook on Anit Discrimination