EOC: HK Law Protects People with HIV

By Philip C. Tubeza

The Disability Discrimination Ordinance protects people with HIV in Hong Kong, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) said.

In a statement, the EOC said it is unlawful for an employer, service provider, or an employment agency to discriminate against a person due to his or her HIV positive status.

“In the last edition of HK News, it was reported that the number of Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers with HIV is increasing. (Hong Kong News, 1 July 2015),” the EOC said.

“A migrant worker who is HIV positive might have different fears, fear about their and their family’s future, fear of sitgmatisation and fear of losing their employment contract due to termination,” it said.

“In Hong Kong, person who is HIV positive is protected under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO). Therefore, it is unlawful for employer, employment agency, service provider to discriminate a person due to his/her HIV- positive status,” it added.

The EOC said the ordinance definition of disability includes the presence of virus or bacteria, “which can make a person ill or capable to make a person ill in the future.”

“Examples include flu or HIV. The DDO prohibits discrimination against a person on the ground of the person’s disability. Discrimination means a differential treatment on the ground of a person’s disability which causes detriment to the person,” the EOC said.

“The meaning of disability also includes past, future and imputed disability. This means if you had tuberculosis in the past and recovered, then it may still be unlawful for your employer or your agency to refuse your employment because you had tuberculosis,” it said.

“Similarly, it may be unlawful for an employer to terminate a worker’s contract because she/he is HIV positive or has AIDS,” it added.

However, the EOC said that the protection that the DDO provides people with HIV is not absolute.

“Of course, there are a couple of exceptions that make certain discriminatory acts under the DDO not unlawful. For example, if continuing an employment of a foreign domestic worker with HIV will cause an employer such great difficulties (unjustifiable hardship) in providing accommodation or when the employee is no longer able to carry out the essential or core duties (inherent requirements) of the job, then dismissal or refusal to employ would not be unlawful,” the EOC said.

“However, it would be the responsibility of the employer to prove that such exceptions apply to them if there is a complaint,” it added.

For more information on the EOC, the anti-discrimination laws, and how to lodge a complaint to the EOC in Tagalog, please visit:http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/GraphicsFolder/tagalog.html.

“You can also contact our hotline at 2511 8211 or email us at eoc@eoc.org.hk for assistance. We can also provide you with an interpreter upon request, subject to availability of the interpreter,” the EOC said.

“The Equal Opportunities Commission is set up to protect you!” it added.




(Source: HongkongNews.com.hk)

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