I understand that a new discrimination law has recently been introduced in Jersey; how could this affect my business and my employees?

On 1 September 2014, the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 became effective, providing legal protection for individuals against race discrimination and harassment and victimisation on the grounds of race.  The law applies during the recruitment process, the duration of employment and in relation to dismissal.  Action on the grounds of discrimination may be taken against both employees and employers and employers can be held liable for the actions of their employees.

It is advisable that businesses should: (i) familiarise themselves with the new law; (ii) adopt a clear anti-discrimination policy; (iii) train staff on discrimination issues; and (iv) develop a company culture that takes complaints of discrimination seriously. A lack of awareness that discrimination has taken place in the workplace is not a sufficient defence under the law.  It should be noted that voluntary or agency workers who are treated in a similar manner to employees are also protected by the new law. 

Although the introduction of the new law only provides legal protection on the grounds of race, it is expected that this is the first of several laws that will ultimately protect employees from a wide range of discrimination.