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Goldman Sachs, Google call for legislation to retain talent in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong should modernise its anti-discrimination legislation to ensure that it retains its position in Asia as a centre for business excellence, with equality for all employees at its core, a statement issued on Wednesday by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and Gender Research Centre (GRC) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong says.

The call for action has the support of 75 organisations, including companies from the financial and legal sectors, NGOs, university academics, and religious groups. Among those representing the business sector are Google, Goldman Sachs, Clifford Chance, Lane Crawford Joyce Group, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and more.

The statement calls on the government to launch a public consultation and introduce legislation against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status as soon as possible.

According to professor Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, chairperson of the EOC, the groundbreaking support from many organisations working in the business sector proves the move would make great business sense.

“By promoting a diverse and inclusive culture, Hong Kong will be able to retain and draw in talent, which is important in the competitive global environment. In fact, many multi-national and some local corporations already have in place policies to give LGBTI employees equal employment opportunities and benefits,” he stated.

“As home to the headquarters of a considerable number of international firms and being one of the world’s leading financial centres, Hong Kong should modernise its anti-discrimination legislation to ensure that it retains its position in Asia as a centre for business excellence, with equality for all employees at its core,” he added.

Last year, a study published by the EOC and the GRC found that LGBTI people in Hong Kong experience significant discrimination in all aspects of their public life, including employment. Additionally, it found that public opinion had visibly shifted in favour of the passing of legislation to protect LGBTI persons from discrimination, with over 55% of the general public and over 90% of the young population (18 to 24 year olds) agreeing to the introduction of legislation.

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