1. ITV Report

Businesses to face financial penalties under new Guernsey equality law

People or organisations found to discriminate against someone in Guernsey could face financial penalties under the new equality law. Credit: PA Images

People and organisations found to discriminate against someone because of their age, disability or race could face financial penalties under a long-awaited equality law.

The draft anti-discrimination law also offers new protection on the basis of:

  • Religion
  • Carer status
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual orientation
  • Trans status

The States of Guernsey is asking the public for their views on the proposals, before they go back to politicians in 2020. The law is then expected to come into force in 2021, at the earliest.

Campaigners have long argued for laws to protect against disability discrimination in the island, with the island's government slow to act after agreeing in principal to support such a move in 2013.

The plans will also see the establishment of an Equality and Rights Organisation by 2020, which will give guidance, training, and advice to the public and employers on their rights under the new law.

Should islanders feel they have been discriminated against, they will be able to lodge a complaint with a tribunal, under the plans.

It could then order financial compensation to be paid to the victim, or a non-financial remedy such as forcing an employer or service provider to change any discriminatory policies or practices.

Currently, the Bailiwick has just one equality law in place to protect islanders against sex discrimination at work.

Deputy Michelle Le Clerc said it was "hugely important" people played their role in shaping the legislation.

We have put in a huge amount of work and I think if you look at the documents that we've issued for this consultation you can see the evidence of that.

– Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, President of Employment and Social Security