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III. Disability Discrimination

Referring to section 2(1) of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance ("DDO"), a disability means:


  • 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 in the body of organisms causing disease or illness (such as HIV/AIDS);
  • the presence in the body 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 (e.g. learning difficulties); or
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour.

A disability includes not only a disability that presently exists, but also a disability which previously existed but no longer exists, or which may exist in the future or which is imputed to a person.


The DDO protects any person with the above disabilities against discrimination, harassment or vilification (see question 1) in the areas of:


  • employment (including partnerships, trade union memberships, vocational training, etc.);
  • education;
  • access to premises (property that can be accessed by the public);
  • disposal and management of premises (including private property);
  • provision of goods, services and facilities;
  • clubs and sporting activities;
  • Government activities;
  • practising as barristers (any offer of pupillage and training provided to barristers).


This protection also extends to the associates (such as spouses or parents) of the disabled persons. In other words, even if you are not a person with a disability, you are still protected under the law if:


  • you are associated with another person with a disability, and you are discriminated against because of your association with the disabled person (an associate includes a spouse, another person living with a person with a disability, a relative, a care taker, or a business/sporting/recreational partner);
  • you are imputed to have a disability (being considered as having a disability) and you are discriminated against because of this;
  • it is believed that you may have a disability in the future, and you are discriminated against because of this.


The types of disability discrimination covered in the above section include: physical disability, mental handicap, mental illness, hearing impairment, visual impairment, chronic (persistent) illness and HIV/AIDS.