The Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) came into operation on 10 July 2009. The main objectives of the RDO include making direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and vilification on the ground of race unlawful.

Exceptions under the RDO

Exceptions under the RDO include:

  1. Genuine occupational qualification Situations in which an employer may lawfully require a job holder to be a person of a particular racial group, e.g. where a job holder can most effectively provide personal services which require familiarity with the language, culture and customs of and sensitivity to the needs of a particular racial group.
  2. Employment of persons with special skills, knowledge or experience Situations where a person is recruited or transferred from outside Hong Kong to work in Hong Kong where the work requires special skills, knowledge or experience not readily available in Hong Kong.
  3. Existing local and overseas employment terms Differential treatment between an employee on local terms of employment and another employee on overseas terms of employment.

Liabilities of employers and principals

An employer is liable for unlawful acts done by an employee under the RDO, even if the employer did not know or approve of such unlawful acts, unless the employer has taken reasonable steps to prevent the employee from doing the unlawful act.