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Changes being made ahead of anti-discrimination commencement

Changes being made ahead of anti-discrimination commencement

Tuesday 14 March 2023

Changes being made ahead of anti-discrimination commencement

Tuesday 14 March 2023

The States department which deals with employment relations will be restructured so it can also handle discrimination complaints while developing operational independence from the public sector, in anticipation of law changes later this year.

The Employment & Social Security Committee says the Employment Relations Service will converted into the Employment & Equal Opportunities Service to reflect the incoming anti-discrimination legislation.

It will be supported by a new law of the saw name which works as an integral part of the Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance. States members will consider the legislation at their April States meeting.

The new service is legally required to be headed up by a statutory official as Director, replacing a full-time post in the soon-to-be defunct Relations service.

ESS says the structural change is being made to guarantee operational independence when managing employment-related and discrimination-related complaints which might involve the States of Guernsey. 

Guernsey’s first comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation was approved by the States Assembly last September after years of lobbying, consultation and drafting.

The first phase comes into effect on 1 October when it will become illegal to discriminate against a person on the grounds of race, disability, carer status, sexual orientation and religion or belief in employment, the provision of goods and services, education, and accommodation, and in the membership of clubs and associations. 

Deputy Peter Roffey

Pictured: Deputy Peter Roffey was instrumental in leading the new law through the States.

The service will also offer free pre-complaint conciliation to try to help people to resolve employment and discrimination issues early, with the aim of reducing the number of formal complaints made. 

Deputy Peter Roffey, President of Employment & Social Security, said: “This is a vital piece of legislation that will establish the functions and powers of the Director of the Employment & Equal Opportunities Service, who has a key role under the Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance."

The States claim this rebranding and reshaping exercise has been achieved within budget, in line with legislature direction. 

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