Q2. Can an employer apply differential treatment between local and overseas employees? If not, in what circumstances can they do so?
Although differential treatment in the workplace can be regarded as discrimination, there can be genuine needs for the employers to apply differential treatment to local and overseas employees. For example, the provision of housing benefits to overseas employees can be justified as they are in genuine need for a place to stay in order to work for the employers.
In fact, section 14 of Race Discrimination Ordinance has made it clear that the discrimination provisions do not apply to any differential treatment between local and overseas employees in an employment relationship specified in Schedule 2, which includes the following:
- Employees employed before 10 July 2009 who continued to be employed without a break in service;
- Certain judicial officers, ICAC officers or public officers; and
- A specified English teacher employed before 10 July 2009.