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CIRCULARS

Circular No. 03-01 (CR) January 2003
Equal Opportunities

A person discriminates against another individual if he, on the ground of the other's sex, marital status, pregnancy, disability or taking care of family members, treats the other less favourably than he treats or would treat any other person and may contravene the law. In providing services to clients, practitioners should be aware of the laws relating to equal opportunities: Sex Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 480); Disability Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 487); and Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 527).

In Hong Kong, it is sometimes heard that foreigners, especially those of South Asian descent, encounter difficulties in finding accommodation. The grounds of discrimination extend to one's enjoyment of accommodation. Discrimination in this regard occurs if someone receives less favourable treatment in finding or enjoying accommodation than that which another person in the same position would have received on the ground of nationality, race or skin colour. Discriminatory acts also include verbal insults (using pejorative racial descriptions) and refusal to provide services.

In handling property transactions, estate agents should avoid committing any discriminatory act or conducting themselves in ways that prejudice others' right to accommodation. Enquiries may be made by calling the Hotline of the Equal Opportunities Commission (2511 8211) or, where racial issues are concerned, the Race Relations Unit under the Home Affairs Bureau (Tel. No.: 2835 1579).

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