The Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (“FSDO”) (Cap. 527) was passed in 1997. Under the FSDO, it is unlawful for anyone or any organization to discriminate against a person based on his or her family status. The term “family status" means the status of a person who has the responsibility for the care of an immediate family member, who is related by blood, marriage, adoption or affinity.
The FSDO applies to seven areas, including employment. All employers in Hong Kong shall comply with the FSDO, unless the employee does his or her work wholly or mainly outside Hong Kong.
To avoid being held liable under the FSDO, employers may adopt the following practices:
Adopt consistent selection criteria in recruitment, promotion, transfer, training, dismissal or redundancy.
Do not hold stereotypical assumptions on the suitability of employees with or without family status for a particular job.
Avoid advertising positions as “fulltime” unless this can be justified.
Offer part-time work or job sharing where possible.
Keep work arrangements and allowance flexible for the employees with difficulties in meeting the working requirements.
Maintain an open and inclusive working environment so that employees are open and forthcoming with their respective needs regarding family status.