A draft Law has been lodged today that will protect people in Jersey against race discrimination.
Minister for Social Security, Senator Francis Le Gresley, said “There has been considerable public support for the introduction of protection against discrimination in Jersey. We have worked hard to keep the law as simple as possible and we have taken into account stakeholders’ comments. This Law will protect everyone in Jersey because we all belong to one or more racial groups.”
Race, as a characteristic, includes colour, nationality, ethnic origins and national origins, which includes being of Jersey origin. The Law will prohibit acts of race discrimination in areas including paid work and recruitment, voluntary work, education, goods, facilities and services, clubs and the management of premises.
Race is the first protected characteristic to be introduced. There is evidence from the recent Jersey Annual Social Survey (JASS) that race discrimination is an issue in Jersey. A quarter (25%) of adults reported having been discriminated against in the previous 12 months and nine percent of adults reported that they had been discriminated against on grounds of nationality in the previous 12 months.
The Minister intends to introduce protection against discrimination on grounds of sex, age and disability in the future and has committed to undertaking further public consultation before doing so. Introducing protection against discrimination on the grounds of other characteristics brings complex issues, including retirement and maternity rights.
Senator Le Gresley said “We know that the Law will have significant implications, but it is essential for Jersey’s international reputation that we protect people against race discrimination. Our intention is to allow people to become familiar with the concepts of direct and indirect discrimination, taking the simplest characteristic of ‘race’ first.”
In anticipation of legislation coming into force, JACS has been providing training on discrimination for the past four years. JACS will provide public training courses on the draft Discrimination Law free to delegates during 2013 and 2014.
The Minister has agreed to the request of the Health, Social Security and Housing Scrutiny Panel that the draft Law be listed for States debate in May 2013 to allow the Panel time to conduct its own review of the draft Law. Subject to the approval of the States and Privy Council, protection against race discrimination is expected to come into force in the second half of 2014.