Ddo intimidating presence
The second part of this article introduces the substantive provisions of the DDO and the enforcement model.
The third part analyzes data obtained from a random sample of 254 disability-related complaints, which show that complaints alleging disability discrimination are less likely to be conciliated and less likely to lead to a substantial remedy than complaints alleging gender discrimination.
The enforcement model proposed by the government was based on the assumption that most complaints would be resolved through a confidential process of investigation and conciliation.
This appealed to the business community and to those commentators who believed that a soft approach to enforcement would suit Hong Kong's Confucian heritage and free-market economic policies (Ng, 1994, pp. Some community groups were wary of mandatory conciliation, fearing that it would limit the social impact of the law.
185) and as an example of good practice in the region (UNESCAP, 2001, pp. The disabled community has demonstrated a willingness to use the law, having filed more than 2400 complaints with the Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).
Yet it is difficult to assess the impact, since most complaints are dealt with through a confidential process of investigation and conciliation.
The DDO came into force in late 1996 and prohibits discrimination, harassment, and vilification on the ground of disability.
Disability is defined in the statute as including: "total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions; total or partial loss of a part of the person's body; the presence of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body; a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behavior" (DDO, 1995, s 2).
Similar "unjustifiable hardship" defenses are available to providers of education, premises, goods and services.This definition is based on the Australian Disability Discrimination Act 1992, which does not require evidence of a substantial or long-term adverse effect. As commentators on the Australian law have noted, this approach avoids debates on whether the plaintiff has a "disability" and concentrates upon the alleged discrimination (Basser and Jones, 2002).The DDO further prohibits discrimination on the ground of a past disability, a disability that may exist in future, an imputed disability, or a disability of an associate (DDO, 1995, s. Hong Kong's DDO applies to a wide range of fields, including employment, education, housing, government programs, and the provision of goods and services.In 1991, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance was enacted, establishing a general right to equal treatment in the public sector (Byrnes, 1992).In 1994, an independent legislator introduced the Equal Opportunities Bill (EOB), which sought to prohibit discrimination in the public and private sectors on a wide range of grounds, including disability, sex, race, age, and sexuality (Petersen, 1996).
Although the law has been in force for close to a decade, only a handful of significant cases have been litigated.