Hong Kong Staff Protested against Disability Discrimination at Work

August 28, 201710:49 am806 views

Hong Kong’s postal authority has been protested for alleged discrimination against employees with disabilities. Related to the issue, one union representing the workers stated that discrimination cases such as name-calling, forced resignation, and unfair treatment toward staff with disability were only the tip of the iceberg.

Victims stated that he had submitted a complaint to the Hongkong Post’s management, but the report was overlooked due to misunderstandings and communication errors. In consequence, along with the union, they intended to bring the matter to the higher authority of equality watchdog and the Ombudsman.

Accompanied by representatives of Rights Association of Hongkong Post Contract Staff, about 10 workers staged a demonstration outside the General Post Office in Central on Aug 17. They underlined that the issue of discrimination has become more severe since March, when former postmaster general Jessie Ting Yip Yin-mei stepped down to become the right-hand woman to the city’s leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

In a particular case in June, a senior postal inspector was reported to have referred to a union representative with a cleft palate as ‘broken mouth’. Because of this statement, a complaint was lodged by the organisation. In August, a written reply from Hongkong Post clarified that the inspector said it was only a ‘nickname’ and not intentional. Furthermore, the authority also acknowledged that the comment was ‘inappropriate’, and a measure had been taken against the supervisor involved.

See: 76% Women and Working Mothers in Philippines Still Experience Workplace Discrimination

Another case involved a worker with a hearing loss following the Philatelic Bureau in March. Based on the union’s statement, he had been unfairly targeted by the post superintendent over issues that were outside his scope of duty. In addition, they also claimed that the victim was asked to go back to school and learn sign language. Because of the discrimination, the victim suffered from emotional distress that led him to ask for a resignation in May. The mentioned superintendent drafted a resignation letter for him.

After an investigation, Hong Kong Post claimed that the superintendent had acted as she did only “out of care for colleagues”. She had also been reminded to provide proper guidance with caution in future.

Union chairman, Tse Tin-wing said there are still some other staff who had endured abuse or discrimination at work, but they chose to remain silent for fear of losing their jobs if they speak up and report the case. Additionally, the union also noted that contracts for about 2,000 contract staff in the organisation are renewed annually. This is contrary to the arrangement for 5,000 civil servants which are hired on a permanent basis, South China Morning Post reports.

Mr Tse said the new postmaster general, Gordon Leung Chung-tai, had refused to meet the association. Owing to this reason, they planned to take the issue to the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Ombudsman.

In response to the union’s move, Hongkong Post said that equal opportunities and anti-discrimination policies were already set up and promised to follow up on the incidents with the union. In an official statement, Hongkong Post stated they will not accept or condone discriminatory behaviour, as it is against regulations. Additionally, any workers suffering disability discrimination were actively encouraged to file complaints, which would be handled in a ‘fair and confidential’ manner, it said.

Read also: How Should HR Deal with Discrimination and Harassment Complaints?

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)