The chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Ricky Chu, said on Thursday that planned amendments to the city's equality laws could see so-called intra-racial discrimination become illegal.
He made the comment on RTHK's Backchat programme after Cathay Pacific fired three flight attendants who were accused of discriminating against non-English speaking passengers during a flight from Chengdu.
Chu said authorities are working to introduce an amendment to the existing Race Discrimination Ordinance by the end of the legislative year to include intra-racial discrimination, which would outlaw discrimination against mainlanders.
"If such amendments can pass at the end of the day, then scenarios like the present one – if we've got the live complainant and investigation can obtain sufficient evidence – then yes, the act may well fall into the regulated behaviours under the Race Discrimination Ordinance,” the EOC head said.
Chu also welcomed a decision by Cathay Pacific CEO, Ronald Lam, to personally lead a task force to review the company's code of conduct.
"I think it goes back to the root of the problem; the company needs to provide better training, not only on the skill set of staff, but also on sensitivity issues, on equal opportunity concepts like diversity, equity, and inclusion."