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9 Nov 2015

Hong Kong equality watchdog ordered to pay former employee who lobbied against gay marriage

Hong Kong employees of equality opportunities commission (EOC) worked on project to gauge public on same-sex marriage, while encouraging church members to lobby against

Hong Kong’s EOC has been ordered to pay HK$867,000 to a former employee, Josiah Chok Kin-ming, who it fired last year while he was working on a athree-month consultation to seek public opinion on offering legal protection to the rights of same-sex couples.

Last year it was revealed that while Chok was working in the role of the organisation’s chief equal opportunities officer he was also encouraging churchgoers to lobby the commission against proposals on on extending discrimination protections to same-sex couples.

When this news emerged, besides telling Chok that it would not renew his contract, the EOC also said that it was witholding a gratuity payment to him due to breach of contract.

Cook the sued for the gratuity payment through the Labour Tribunal. On Monday, the Tribunal ruled that the EOC must pay Chok the gratuity HK$867,000 (US$112,000), plus HK$916 ($118/€109) in hearing fees.

The judge ruled that Chok had visited in the church in his free time and that his freedom of speech was protected. It also noted that the gratuity was offered after three-years of service and was not performance related.

An EOC spokesperson said in a statement, ‘The former employee concerned has breached the EOC’s code of conduct and his acts have seriously conflicted with the EOC’s legitimate business interests and have affected its credibility.

‘The decision of not granting gratuity to this employee was only made after he refused to apologize for his wrongdoings.

The Labour Tribunal decision was also criticized by global LGBT business advocacy organization Out Leadership. ‘We’re disappointed at the Labour Tribunal’s decision,’ said Todd Sears, Principal of Out Leadership told Gay Star News.

Reader's Comments

1. 2015-11-10 06:56  
What did they expect? You can't force mind control on people.

Well done Chok. You won't win the "war" but well done none the less.
2. 2015-11-13 17:15  
Is the Tribunal decision appealable under HK law?
3. 2015-11-17 10:36  
You can appeal that white is black and vice versa, it won't make it right though.
4. 2015-11-30 22:21  
In fact, his actions were a blatant conflict of interest. It was right to fire him and wrong to force the victims of his fraud to pay him. I say 'fraud' because when you take a job as a "chief equal opportunities officer" it is implicit that you actually support the concept of equal opportunities.
5. 2015-12-02 15:58  
Yeah Capitan. It's not fair that school dropouts can't be brain surgeons.

6. 2016-05-31 20:10  
Hey GTiLad...first of all, if you want people to actually listen to what you say, take that picture of your ass off your profile. Second, school dropouts not being brain surgeons has nothing to do with that jerk off did. Capitan is right. That guy is not entitled to his job or money. Free speech has nothing to do with conflict of interest.

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