Small businesses in Guernsey could be exempt from law protecting people with disabilities

Businesses in Guernsey could be exempt from part of the island's new anti-discrimination law.

The proposed changes have prompted anger after an amendment was lodged that asks for employers with fewer than six staff to be excluded from some of the legislation.

If approved, it would mean that small shops and other companies do not need to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities or adopt measures to protect carers.

An online petition against the amendment has gained more than 600 signatures so far and campaigners are calling for people not to vote for the politicians involved when they come up for re-election.

Members of the public have also commented under the appeal to voice their frustration.

Elizabeth Sweet wrote: "This is appalling. It is literally proposing writing discrimination into law and even worse, attempting to do so on the back of a law intended to prevent discrimination."

Jeanette Ogier added: "I am the grandmother of a disabled person and also the mother of his carer, I've seen how my daughter has fought for her son to be accepted."

The States rejected calls from businesses in March for a 12 to 18-month delay to the law as they said it was the wrong time to put extra costs on companies who are recovering from the pandemic and dealing with rising costs.

These latest changes were put forward by Deputies Chris Blin and David De Lisle.

They explained: "Guernsey has many locally owned and managed small businesses. This amendment will reduce the financial and management pressures for businesses with five employees or less which are too small to absorb the impact of these changes."

Politicians will debate the law on Wednesday 28 September that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their race, disability, carer status, sexual orientation or religious belief.