From hiring to firing: a basic guide to the Hong Kong employment law life cycle

For many employers, the key to having a productive and high-performing workforce is recruiting the right people to start with. However, it is important for employers to be aware that even before an employee commences work, there are a number of legal issues which arise in the process of seeking, interviewing and selecting candidates for a position.

Employers are prohibited from making discriminatory statements on prohibited grounds (which include sex, marital status, pregnancy, family status, disability and race) in recruitment advertisements. When shortlisting or selecting candidates, employers should ensure that any decision is based on consistent selection criteria which are not discriminatory.

Employers must also comply with the provisions of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance when advertising or interviewing candidates. Applicants should be informed of the collection, use and storage of their personal data. An employer may only collect personal data which is necessary and not excessive for the lawful purpose for which it is being collected (for example, information on work experience, job skills, competencies, academic or professional qualifications and good character)…

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