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Anti-discrimination legislation approved in Jersey

The States of Jersey has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the implementation of the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 201- (the Law). Subject to Privy Council assent being granted, the Law is expected to come into force in the second half of 2014. The Law is complex and wide ranging. However, we have set out below a summary of some key aspects of the Law. Mourant Ozannes will be announcing a programme of training in relation to the Law in the near future.

Protected characteristics

Not all forms of discrimination will be prohibited from the date of implementation of the Law. Race will be the first characteristic to be protected with other characteristics such as gender, age and disability being phased in in future years. Discriminatory acts on the grounds of race will be prohibited in a number of areas including employment, partnerships, vocational training, voluntary work, education, provision of goods, facilities and services and in respect of the disposal and management of premises. All organisations potentially affected by the Law will need to ensure that they and their employees and/or members are familiar with their responsibilities and obligations under the Law.

Enforcement

The Employment Tribunal will become known as the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal when the Law comes into force and it will be responsible for hearing complaints about acts of discrimination that occur in all areas, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. As with existing employment claims, there will be the ability for complaints to be referred for conciliation or mediation.

If the Tribunal finds that a complaint of discrimination is proved, it may do any, or all, of the following:

  1. make an order declaring the rights of the complainant and the respondent;
  2. order compensation up to a maximum of £10,000 for any financial loss suffered and up to a maximum of £5,000 for hurt and distress, subject to an overall limit of £10,000; and
  3. recommend that the respondent takes certain action within a specified period of time for the purpose of reducing the adverse effect of the act of discrimination on the particular complainant.

Liability for acts of employees

The Law makes an employee personally liable for acts of discrimination committed in the course of employment and also makes an employer liable for acts of discrimination carried out by its employees. It does not matter whether or not the employer knows about or approves of those acts. However, employers who can show that they took all reasonable steps to prevent their employees from acting unlawfully will not be held liable. Employers must, therefore, be proactive in ensuring that they have adequate policies in place dealing with discriminatory behaviour and should provide training and guidance to employees as to expected standards.

We would be very happy to assist you and your business in respect of the Law and its wider impact. In particular, we will be providing training over the coming months to prepare business and staff in respect of their obligations and responsibilities.

If you have any queries in respect of the Law or would like to discuss training opportunities, please contact Helen Ruelle or Carla Benest.