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Discrimination Legislation

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This page contains information about the forthcoming Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, including when this is likely to be introduced and how this might affect employers, employees and other members of the public.

Why is discrimination legislation needed?

Discrimination legislation promotes and protects people's right to equality of status, opportunity, treatment and non-discrimination on the basis of various 'grounds of protection' specified in the legislation.

At the moment, Guernsey only has one piece of discrimination legislation which makes sex discrimination in employment unlawful. This means that if discrimination happens in other contexts (for example, if a bar tender refused to serve someone because of their sexual orientation) it is not currently possible to legally challenge this.

Equality is important for our society and the States of Deliberation has agreed that discrimination on the grounds of race, disability, carer status, sexual orientation and religious belief should be prohibited in employment, the provision of education, accommodation, goods and services and in the membership of clubs and associations.

When will discrimination legislation be introduced?

In September 2022, The Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022, as amended, was approved by the States and will come into force on 1st October 2023.

The Committee for Employment & Social Security is working to ensure that structures are in place to give people information and advice, as well as to register and hear complaints raised under the legislation.

How will the new discrimination legislation affect me as an employer, employee or service provider?
  • As an employer

    • The following list gives an idea of what employers should consider:
      • review their policies and procedures to ensure they are not discriminatory;
      • consider implementing a harassment policy and a Diversity and Inclusion policy, if you don't have these policies in place already;
      • train management and staff to understand their duties and responsibilities;
      • make reasonable adjustments if requested by employees; and
      • consider undertaking an access audit.
    • The list is not exhaustive, and you can see more guidance and information by clicking on the green button below. Further training and guidance will be available in Q4 2022.
  • As an employee

    • Employees currently have some protection against discrimination on the grounds of sex, marriage and gender reassignment in employment. Under the new law discrimination will also be unlawful in the case of race, religion, carer status, disability and sexual orientation.
    • If an employee is concerned that they have encountered discrimination, on any of the above grounds, then they will be able to seek advice from the Employment and Equal Opportunities Service.
  • As a service provider

    • Service providers will be required to ensure that they are not discriminating against service users/customers. For example, they should not refuse to provide a service to an individual because of their race, religion, carer status, disability or sexual orientation.
    • The legislation will also place a duty on service providers to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled people to have the same opportunities as others and be fully included in society.
    • For providers of goods and services and education the reasonable adjustment duty is anticipatory. This means that they should think in advance about how to meet relatively common access needs.

Further information, including the background behind the Discrimination Legislation, is available below.

  • What has happened so far?

    • As part of the Disability and Inclusion Strategy, the States agreed that detailed policy proposals should be developed for the introduction of disability discrimination legislation.
    • The Committee for Employment & Social Security carried out extensive consultation on draft policy proposals for a multi-ground Discrimination Ordinance during the summer of 2019, following which it substantially modified its proposals.
    • How the Committee's policy proposals changed between the summer of 2019 and March 2020 is explained within Appendix 4, Section 2 of the policy letter. This policy letter is available in the downloads section.
    • On 2nd March 2020, the Committee published proposals for phase 1 of a new Discrimination Ordinance which would make it unlawful for employers and service providers to discriminate on the grounds of disability, carer status and race. FAQs on the accessibility aspects of the proposals are available for download on this page.
    • The proposals were debated by the States in July 2020. During the States debate an amendment was passed to bring the grounds of religious belief and sexual orientation into phase 1. The amended proposals for the discrimination legislation were passed on 17th July 2020.
    • A further policy letter on sexual orientation and religious belief was considered by the States in November 2021. The amended proposals for discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and religious belief were approved on 4th November 2021. The States reaffirmed its previous decision to include protection from discrimination on the ground of religious belief in phase 1 of the new Discrimination Ordinance. The Committee's suggestion to reframe that ground as 'religion or belief', in order to provide protection from discrimination on the basis of secular beliefs, was not approved.
    • A technical consultation took place on the first draft of the Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance in January and February 2022. As a result of this technical consultation, a number of changes were made to the draft Ordinance.
    • The draft Ordinance was considered by the Legislation Review Panel in early August 2022 and was submitted to the States' Greffier on 19 August 2022 to be presented to the States.
    • In September 2022, The Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022, as amended, was approved by the States and will come into force in October 2023. Amendments included following the UK definition of religion or belief.
  • Who will be protected under discrimination legislation?

    • The Sex Discrimination (Employment) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2005 already makes discrimination on the grounds of sex, marriage and gender reassignment unlawful in employment. This will remain in force for the time being.
    • Phase one of the new Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022 will cover discrimination on the grounds of:
      • Race (which includes colour, descent, national or ethnic origin and nationality)
      • Disability
      • Carer status (people who provide care or support for a close relative or a person that they live with who has a disability)
      • Religion or belief
      • Sexual orientation
    • Phase two of the legislation will require further policy work to be undertaken prior to the introduction of the additional grounds of protection listed below.
      • Age
      • Sex, marriage and gender reassignment (or equivalent grounds) will be reviewed and may be incorporated into the Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022, repealing the existing Sex Discrimination Ordinance. This would mean that protection on these grounds would be extended beyond employment.
  • What training is available?

    • The Committee for Employment & Social Security has appointed a Consortium to provide training courses for the forthcoming Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022.
    • The training is available to book on the Consortium's website.
    • The Consortium, led by The Guernsey Institute and international law firm, Walkers, brings together several key organisations including Equality Guernsey, Guernsey Employment Trust, and Focus HR.
    • They are working together to deliver a comprehensive training and development programme. This is an important element of the support available to assist employers and service providers in understanding and preparing for the new Legislation.
    • Guidance documents
    • Appleby are currently writing guidance documents which will be available from Q4 2022.
    • The Information and Guidance page contains more information about the discrimination legislation and what the training will include.
    • The Employment and Equal Opportunities Service will be developed during the second half of 2022. When this service is launched, further guidance will be provided.
  • Why has the Discrimination Law from Jersey not been used as a model?

    • The Committee identified a number of areas where it recommended in the proposals that the new Guernsey Discrimination Ordinance should differ from the Jersey approach.
    • These can be subdivided into four key areas:
      • areas where the Committee for Employment & Social Security wished to adopt a different policy position to Jersey;
      • areas where the Committee wanted to provide clarity through explicit provisions rather than key provisions relying on interpreting the legislation in line with case law from the UK;
      • areas where there are differences between Guernsey and Jersey that needed to be reflected in the Guernsey proposals; and
      • areas where Jersey either goes further than the Guernsey draft technical proposals or where the Jersey position was relatively untested in terms of the number of cases going before a tribunal at the time of writing.
    • These are explained in more detail in Appendix 5 of the policy letter.
  • Has there been any consultation with businesses or employers?

    • The Committee for Employment & Social Security carried out extensive consultation on draft policy proposals during the summer of 2019, following which the proposals were substantially modified.
    • As part of this consultation, meetings or events took place with a number of groups including small businesses, Chamber of Commerce, Institute of Directors, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and Private Landlords.
    • Following States approval of the policy proposals in July 2020, a Discrimination Legislation Stakeholder Group was formed including representatives from business, private schools, hospitality, the legal profession, landlords, as well as representatives of the grounds of protection that will be included in Phase 1 of the Ordinance. This group provides feedback to the Committee for Employment & Social Security on the plans for implementing the new Discrimination Ordinance.
    • A technical consultation on the wording of the draft Ordinance has also taken place. This consultation was specifically targeted at those who either have employment or discrimination legislative expertise, or who have a special interest in the Ordinance, such as those who represent stakeholders who will have specific responsibilities under the legislation or represent a ground of protection. Technical feedback from parties outside the targeted consultation was also welcome. 
    • Employment and Equal Opportunities Service (EEOS)

      • The existing Employment Relations Service will be developed into an Employment and Equal Opportunities Service. The EEOS will offer free advice and pre-complaint conciliation to try to help people to resolve issues before a formal complaint is registered.

    Downloads

    Policy Letter- proposals for a new discrimination ordinance Appendix 5: Committees view on the Discrimination (Jersey) Law, 2013 FAQs Accessibility

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    Write to us:
    Discrimination Team

    Level 4, Edward T. Wheadon House,  Le Truchot,  St Peter Port,  Guernsey,  GY1 3WH

    Email us:
    equality@gov.gg

    Call us:
    01481 222882

    Opening hours:
    Monday - Friday

    Building: 08:45AM-4:00PM, Phone: 08:30AM-4:45PM (4:30pm for phones on Fridays)

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