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.
On 2nd March 2020, the Committee published proposals for new discrimination legislation which will make it unlawful for employers and service providers to discriminate on the grounds of disability, carer status and race. The Policy Letter outlining these proposals is available here. A summary of the proposals and FAQs on the accessibility aspects of the proposals are available for download on this page.
The proposals were due to be debated by the States in the April 2020 States meeting, but due to the situation with the Covid 19 pandemic this was postponed until the July 2020 States meeting.
During the States debate an amendment was passed to bring the characteristics of race and sexual orientation into phase 1 and for the rest of the characteristics included in the policy letter to phase 2.
The amended proposals for the discrimination legislation were passed on 17th July 2020. The vote was unanimous except for three votes against the inclusion of religious belief in phase 1.
The Committee had previously carried out extensive consultation during the summer of 2019, following which it substantially modified its proposals. The original consultation document and summary of the consultation findings are available to download at Consultation
How the Committee's policy proposals changed between the summer of 2019 and March 2020 is explained within the Policy Letter, Section 2 of Appendix 4and for ease of reference that section is available on this site as a separate pdf to download.
What is the purpose of the discrimination legislation?
- Discrimination legislation promotes and protects people's right to equality of status, opportunity and treatment and non-discrimination on the basis of various 'grounds of protection' specified in the legislation.
What will the new Discrimination legislation do?
- The legislation will make discrimination in employment and when accessing goods and services, education, accommodation and clubs and associations unlawful. There will be some exceptions to this general rule in certain justifiable situations.
- People who feel that they have been discriminated against will be able to obtain advice and assistance to resolve their complaint in an informal manner. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, there will be a mechanism for formal adjudication. If the complaint is upheld there will be various awards and remedies available.
Who will be protected from discrimination?
- 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 legislation (which is due to come into force sometime in 2022) would cover discrimination on the grounds of:
- Race (which includes colour, descent, national or ethnic origin and nationality)
- Carer status (people who provide care or support for a close relative or a person that they live with who has a disability)
- Religious 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.
- Sex, marriage and gender reassignment (or equivalent grounds) will be reviewed and may be incorporated into the new legislation, repealing the existing Sex Discrimination Ordinance. This would mean that protection on these grounds would be extended beyond employment and that equal pay for work of equal value on the grounds of sex would be introduced.
Why not use the Discrimination Law from Jersey 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. This appendix can be downloaded on this page.
What's the plan now?
- The drafting of the legislation has commenced. and will return to the States for approval late in 2021/ early 2022. The Committee is working to ensure that structures are in place to give people information and advice and register and hear complaints raised under the legislation. The Committee anticipates that the legislation will come into force sometime in 2022.