On 1 October 2023, the Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance (2022) came into force, changing this Crown Dependency’s approach to workplace discrimination in a way that is unlike the rest of the UK.
The Sex Discrimination (Employment) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2005 (Sex Discrimination Ordinance) already made it unlawful to discriminate in the workplace on the protected grounds of sex, gender reassignment, marital status, and pregnancy or maternity. With the adoption of the Guernsey 2022 Ordinance, the Crown Dependency designated five additional protected grounds: race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and carer status.
Initially proposed in June 2018, the 2022 Ordinance was approved in September 2022 and subsequently adopted by the Bailiwick of Guernsey (which is comprised of Guernsey as well as several other islands). Guernsey is a self-governing Crown Dependency and is the second largest of the Channel Islands.
Guernsey discrimination distinctions
Equality regulations based on the Guernsey 2022 Ordinance differ from those in Great Britain (covered under the Equality Act 2010). They also differ from those in Jersey (the largest of the Channel Islands), which are covered under The Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 (The “Discrimination Law”).
- Disability: Guernsey, Jersey, Great Britain
- Gender Reassignment: Guernsey, Jersey, Great Britain
- Marital Status: Guernsey, Great Britain
- Pregnancy and Maternity: Guernsey, Jersey, Great Britain
- Race: Guernsey, Jersey, Great Britain
- Religion or Belief: Guernsey, Great Britain
- Sex: Guernsey, Jersey, Great Britain
- Sexual Orientation: Guernsey, Jersey, Great Britain
- Age: Jersey, Great Britain
- Carer Status: Guernsey
There are additional plans in Guernsey to address age discrimination and update the grounds that were previously protected under the 2005 Sex Discrimination Ordinance.
Why does carer status matter?
In Great Britain, the Equality Act 2010 prevents discrimination against someone because of their association with a disabled person, but it does not define carer status as a protected characteristic. This development relating to the Guernsey 2022 Ordinance is interesting because it specifically designates carer status as a protected group.
Heidi Schwartz, enei Content Editor
“Organisations with staff based in Guernsey should be ready to protect employees with carer status from discrimination. Regardless of legislation, some organisations might want to think ahead about their own employees who could be eligible for similar forms of protection.”
In Guernsey, carer status is defined by the Employment and Equal Opportunities Service Employment Guidance – Summary as “…someone who provides continuing, regular, or frequent care or support for another person. The carer must be a close relative of—or live with—the person that they care for. The person receiving the care or support must fall within the definition of the Protected Ground of disability (specifically, they must have one or more long-term impairments).”
Additional details regarding carer status are included in the 18 September 2023 article, Guernsey: Carer Status: Guernsey Boldly Goes Where The UK And No Other Crown Dependency Has Gone Before. The authors Richard Sheldon, Niall MacDonald, and James Gallimore further define carer status based on the following relationships:
- Parent or child of a spouse or partner
What is the possible impact on the workplace?
With changes in the country’s population and the rising demand for support services, caring responsibilities may become increasingly difficult for employees to juggle alongside work obligations. And while the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 provides “…a week of unpaid leave a year for employees who are caring for a dependant with a long-term care need”, it does not go so far as to treat carer status as a protected characteristic.
In the meantime, organisations with staff based in Guernsey should prepare themselves to protect employees with carer status from discrimination. Regardless of legislation, some organisations might want to think ahead about their own employees who could be eligible for similar forms of protection. Proactively protecting valuable staff members—wherever they may work in the UK—might be a worthwhile way for employers to show how much they care too.
This blog post was written by Heidi Schwartz, enei Content Editor. It was posted on 20 October 2023.
- Channel Islands Brussels Office, The Channel Islands and the European Union, 21 March 2016)
- Employment and Equal Opportunities Service, Chapter 2: Protected Grounds, 3 August 2023
- Employment and Equal Opportunities Service, Employment Guidance – summary, 4 October 2022 (updated 29 August 2023)
- Gov.uk, Department of Business and Trade, Workers’ rights win for parents and carers, 25 May 2023
- Guernsey Legal Resources, Prevention of Discrimination (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2022
- Jersey Legal Information Board, The Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 (The “Discrimination Law”)
- Legislation.gov.uk, Carer’s Leave Act 2023, 24 May 2023
- Mondaq/Appleby, Guernsey: Carer Status: Guernsey Boldly Goes Where The UK And No Other Crown Dependency Has Gone Before by Richard Sheldon, James Gallimore, and Niall MacDonald, 18 September 2023
- Mondaq/Appleby, Guernsey: Discrimination Law In Guernsey: The Same But Different by Richard Sheldon, James Gallimore, and Niall MacDonald, 26 September 2023
- States of Guernsey, The Sex Discrimination (Employment) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2005 (Sex Discrimination Ordinance)