1. Is there any grace period under the Race Discrimination Ordinance ("RDO")? If so, when does it end? To which group of people does it apply?
The Race Discrimination Ordinance has come into operation since 10 July 2009. But there is a grace period for small employers, which ended on 10 July 2011.
For the first 3 years after the enactment of the RDO (July 2008), there is a grace period during which RDO section 10(1) and 10(2) (provisions making discrimination under the RDO in employment unlawful) do not apply to employers who employ no more than 5 employees. If a company is controlled by another company or if 2 companies are controlled by a third person, the employees of both companies are included for the purposes of counting the number of employees.
The grace period does not apply to acts of harassment on the grounds of race or discrimination by way of victimization. All employers may not at any time harass their employees on the ground of race or discriminate against them by way of victimization. The grace period also does not apply to the employment of domestic helpers.
Even during the grace period, if an employer at any time has more than 5 employees, the RDO will apply in respect of any acts of discrimination on the ground of race done at that time.