Code for businesses to follow anti-racism law

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 September, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 September, 2006, 12:00am

Drafting a code of practice for businesses is the Equal Opportunities Commission's (EOC) top priority once an anti-racism law is in place, chairman Raymond Tang Yee-bong said yesterday.


Eighty per cent of all complaints received by the EOC on gender, disability and family status discrimination were employment-related, Mr Tang told a General Chamber of Commerce lunch.


After completing a code of practice for businesses, the commission will look at education, service provision and other areas.


Mr Tang acknowledged the business community's concerns about an anti-racism law but said anti-discrimination practices were 'ultimately about getting the right person for the right job'.


Asked why it was taking the government so long to bring the bill before the Legislative Council, Mr Tang said he wished 'he was privy to that information'.


'We have made enquiries on progress ... we suspect it has to do with reservations expressed by various sectors of the community and within the government itself,' he said, adding that the EOC was anxious to see it introduced and had already begun 'capacity building' to handle the new legislation.


'We have been talking to various consulates, chambers of commerce, NGOs and minority groups for some time,' he said.


'Some people will criticise the law by saying there are too many exceptions, but we have to look at the reality of the situation. If the business community wants it, it must be for a good reason. I believe it will be a workable piece of legislation.'


A spokeswoman for the Home Affairs Bureau said the government intended to introduce the bill to Legco by the end of this year.


Mr Tang also urged the gathering to employ family-friendly policies and promised that there would be better staff morale, lower turnover and better working relationships as a result.


He called for a rights-based approach to anti-discrimination issues rather than a 'charity approach'. He said access to buildings for wheelchair users was not a 'charity or welfare issue', but one of the rights of people with disabilities.


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