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“I see discrimination happening every day in Guernsey"

“I see discrimination happening every day in Guernsey

Friday 03 June 2022

“I see discrimination happening every day in Guernsey"

Friday 03 June 2022

The island's most senior politician, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, recently told Express that "Guernsey people are not discriminatory people", although he acknowledged that "you're always going to get some idiots in any society".

This prompted one islander to contact Express with "clear evidence of discrimination" on a daily basis in their place of work and share their illuminating and concerning story.

"When I saw the article about the comments Peter Ferbrache had made in the podcast, I knew I had to speak up because I have first-hand experience of discrimination which is still ongoing on a daily basis," they said. 

Express agreed to protect their anonymity because they feared reprisals in the workplace.


Pictured: The individual said they had attended anti-discrimination training with previous employers, which helped to alert them to discrimination at their current workplace. 

"When I moved to my new and current employer, I was absolutely horrified by the practices in place which are completely discriminatory," they said.

"I have also been on the receiving end of the discrimination, which has never happened to me before now."

The islander said they were told to advise non-local customers that goods were unavailable even when that was not true.

"I couldn’t quite believe it at first, but there is very open conversation in the workplace that we are actively to discourage non-local customers.

"I have been told directly to lie to customers and say that the product is no longer available, even when it is, because the business only wants to cater to locals.

"There were many times where a customer would see a product online and then phone to enquire about it and I would have to tell them that it was not available, even though it was.

"I have told my employer that I will no longer do this because it is discriminatory and goes against all my morals."


Pictured: The islander has been told to shred files belonging to non-local customers. 

They said their employer and colleagues "openly discriminate" against customers who are non-local or from ethnic minorities.

"Sometimes we will receive an email from a potential customer asking for our help and if their surname is what can best be described as 'obviously foreign' then the email will be deleted straight away.

"I have seen emails deleted, files shredded and calls go unreturned based on nothing more than the customer’s ethnicity.

"Other staff will openly make derogatory comments about people from other ethnicities or people who are non-local."

As a non-local, the individual said they had also been discriminated against.

"I am treated like the help by some of the other staff. There is one staff member who will not talk to me directly. If I need something from them, they will only communicate with me through another person in the team. I have never experienced anything like it.

"I have voiced my concerns to management. However, it is all just swept under the carpet and no one seems to care."


Pictured: The individual said that emails from people with "foreign names" are deleted. 

The individual recalled a time when they repeatedly tried to get support for a customer but obstacles were put in the way.

"The customer was a non-local but was extremely wealthy and offered us any amount of money to assist them. But their ethnicity meant that everyone was ignoring their file.

"I had to push and push before anyone would begrudgingly help them. It is only because I persisted that the individual's file did not end up being shredded."

The islander said that they underwent anti-discrimination training while previously working for other businesses.

"Everywhere else I have worked in Guernsey has had clear policies on discrimination, reporting procedures and sent us on training about issues including unconscious bias, so I am very aware of what discrimination looks like.

"In addition to discrimination against non-locals, I have also seen discrimination against customers with children on multiple occasions.

"Other parties that we work with have also been openly discriminatory and racist towards certain customers, but we have continued to work with those people."


Pictured: A Citizens Advice report released in April revealed reports of workplace discrimination in the island. 

A recently Citizens Advice Bureau report on discrimination revealed 15 individual reported cases of discrimination in 2021, most of which occurred in the workplace. 

It was found that, of these cases, six people experienced discrimination on the grounds of gender, four because of disability, and one each because of ethnicity, age and physical appearance.

Speaking at the time, Citizens Advice said it was difficult to draw definitive conclusions due to the "relatively small number of cases" reported each year.

But the Bureau said "there is evidence that discrimination, particularly in the workplace, continues to happen".

The islander said: "I am worried that, in speaking up, my employment will be at risk. But it is the right thing to do. And it needs to be said.

"Discrimination does happen in this island. I see it every day."


Majority of CAB discrimination cases "in the workplace"

PODCAST: "Guernsey people are not discriminatory people"

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