September 9, 2019

Guernsey’s Proposed Discrimination Legislation: Busting the Myths

There has been some commentary over the last few weeks that there is no or very little, Discrimination in Guernsey, and therefore why would we need the current Discrimination Legislation proposals. Over the next few weeks we plan to provide information, facts and case studies to Myth Bust this and a number of other Myths. Starting with:

Myth 1:  There is no visible discrimination, therefore no need for legislation

  • Guernsey is not immune to discrimination, but, as there is currently little protection and no complaint procedure in place, most discrimination goes unreported. 
  • In two years, Jersey’s Employment and Discrimination Tribunal dealt with 98 complaints of discrimination, and that’s without having introduced all the proposed protected grounds which will finally be covered by their law.[i]
  • If there were no discrimination, the discrimination legislation would not be problematic; merely a guarantee that discrimination could never gain a toehold in Guernsey in future.
  • The State’s Health and Wellbeing Survey in 2013 provided evidence of attitudinal and procedural, disability related, disadvantage. Organisations such as Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), Guernsey Disability Alliance (GDA), Guernsey Mind and Liberate have substantial evidence of discrimination and the recent discrimination legislation workshops uncovered further examples.
  • Systemic disability discrimination (within the design of infrastructure, transport systems and public services) is widespread and evident, but often remains unnoticed by persons not affected by disability. Often, known issues are not addressed because the moral imperative to create a fair society does not generate sufficient impetus, unless backed by legislation.[ii]
  • Protection against discrimination is a fundamental right. If we don’t have legislation in place, we will not be complying with certain international human rights agreements: e.g.,the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Extension of the Convention to Guernsey is dependent on having discrimination legislation in place, protecting in the fields of employment, access to goods and services and education.

[i]2018 Jersey Employment and Discrimination Tribunal Annual Report

[ii]See, for example: 2017, States of Guernsey disability review: Meeting the needs of disabled islanders, Business Disability Forum

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