Slight rise in number of discrimination reports in Guernsey

The Citizens Advice Guernsey report found the majority of cases in 2021 related to the workplace. Credit: PA Images

There has been a slight rise in the number of discrimination enquiries in Guernsey, compared to the year before, according to a new report.

Citizens Advice Guernsey found that the majority of cases in 2021 related to the workplace.

It comes as anti-discrimination laws are set to be introduced in the island.

The draft law will go back to the States in September 2022 and if approved, come into force by mid-2023.

Over recent years, Citizens Advice Guernsey has examined enquiries annually regarding discrimination and harassment, which includes bullying behaviour.

Here are the tables as provided by Citizens Advice Guernsey:

Credit: Citizens Advice Guernsey
Credit: Citizens Advice Guernsey
Credit: Citizens Advice Guernsey

The last publication was based on 2019 figures and was presented as two separate reports, one focusing on discrimination and the other on harassment. The 2021 report deals with discrimination enquiries only, comparing the figures for the previous three years to see if there are any recurring trends.

Here are some of the findings:

The impact of Covid The reduction of cases in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019, involving race/ethnicity, could be in part due to the number of non-Guernsey workers who returned to their home countries during the pandemic, though there is not the data to confirm this.

Racial tensions between different nationalities within a workplace

Issues that were perceived to be discriminatory but could be viewed as unfair treatment or victimisation:

  • Lack of a consistent workplace policy regarding how time off was paid when in isolation for Covid – someone having to take it as holiday while another could remain on full pay.

  • Being asked to take a pay cut and reduce hours whereas other employees were not asked to do likewise.

  • Disparity between the treatment of part-time staff versus full-time staff.

  • Feeling discriminated against after having made a complaint to management.

Employers not taking mental health issues into consideration e.g:

  • Possible unfair dismissal due to mental health issues not being taken into consideration.

  • Lack of support from management for health problems exacerbated by stress.

  • Gender discrimination: In the workplace – there can be a lack of support from management when an employee informs them of their pregnancy.

  • In the workplace – suffering stress from derogatory personal comments being made based on gender and physical appearance.

  • In the property rental market – feeling discriminated against by landlords if pregnant.

The report says due to the relatively small number of cases, averaging around 17 per year over the last three years, it is difficult to make definitive conclusions:

"The numbers of cases in 2020 were noticeably lower than in 2019, rising slightly in 2021. While it would be difficult to state with any degree of certainty as to the reason for this, it could be due in part to the lockdown during Covid.

"However, while the numbers of cases that come to the attention of Citizens Advice remain relatively low, there is evidence that discrimination, particularly in the workplace, continues to happen.

"It may be that people do not report such incidents due to the current lack of legislation, or perhaps seek advice from other organisations such as the Guernsey Disability Alliance, Equality Guernsey, the Guernsey Employment Trust, We All Matter, Eh? or Liberate."