Deputy John Dyke wants to make sure the potential new director of the Employment and Equal Opportunities Service (EEOS) works within certain parameters, raising concerns that, if the wrong person steps into the role, they’d have too much power.
The Committee for Employment & Social Security is bringing legislation to the States Assembly for approval this month. The Employment & Equal Opportunities Service Law will establish the role of director of the new service and will also confer new powers to the post.
The role is tied to the incoming Prevention of Discrimination Ordinance, which is set to come into effect on 1 October.
The Vice-President of ESS, Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, said it’ll introduce “long-awaited protections against discrimination 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.
“The role replaces an existing full-time post in the Employment Relations Service team and the team itself will transfer to the EEOS. Under the leadership of the new Director, it will also continue to provide the high-quality advisory and conciliation services it provides now.”
The director of the Service will be able to launch investigations into possible incidents of discrimination, can request certain documents from people, and issue fines if certain information isn’t forthcoming. The role will be completely independent from the Committee and the government at large.
Pictured: Deputy Dyke has lodged three amendments against ESS’s legislation.
Deputy Dyke has lodged three amendments against the legislation – supported by the President of Policy & Resources, Deputy Peter Ferbrache – seeking to clip the wings of any future director.
The first Amendment seeks to make sure the director operates within the parameters of the incoming Ordinance, and can’t just “make up their own headings”.
“It makes clear that the director must only use the grounds [outlined in the Ordinance],” said Deputy Dyke.
His second amendment has been lodged to circumscribe the powers granted to the new director, to make sure that they can only be used to demand documents from people who are believed to have breached the law. The amendment states: “Such powers cannot be open ended.”
Deputy Dyke says without these restrictions there are “huge privacy issues and potential commercial issues too”.
“I’m trying to make sure that [any future director] can’t do any fishing expeditions”, he said.
A third amendment clarifies that the burden of proof should fall on the director when pursuing a case.
Pictured: The legislation will be debated on 26 April.
Deputy Dyke believes his amendments to be “non-controversial”, while also raising concerns that the new director would be independent of ESS and the States: “It is interesting to give one bureaucrat such power [without government moderation].”
ESS said it will comment on the ammendments after it has had an opportunity to discuss them and consider the potential implications. The Committee will be meeting tomorrow morning.
“In the meantime, I would stress the importance of the role of the Director of the EEOS which will be an operationally independent, statutory role,” said Deputy de Sausmarez.
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