The Importance of Symbolism in Jersey

The Equality Act 2010 (“Act”) is the principal piece of legislation protecting individuals from being discriminated against. It makes it unlawful to discrimination against someone because of a number of factors including their race, sex, religion or religious belief, age, pregnancy, maternity, sexuality, and gender reassignment.

The Act does not apply to Jersey (which has its own legislation) but a recent case provides guidance on the types of issues covered.

Ms Bisson brought a claim against Condor Ferries alleging that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of her gender reassignment. This was because the ferry’s toilets were labelled “ladies” and “gents” and when she asked which toilet she should use, she was directed to use the “disabled” toilet.

Condor Ferries admitted discrimination and the island’s Employment and Discrimination Tribunal found Ms Bisson’s complaints (of both direct and indirect discrimination) to be “well-founded”.

The ferry company has now replaced the wording with symbols and says it has worked with Ms Bisson to "remove the possibility of inadvertent discrimination".

As in this case, it is clear that organisations and individuals can fall foul of the legislation unintentionally.  That is why employers need to provide diversity training to employees and to have in place policies and procedures for dealing with discrimination in all its forms.

If you would like training in any area of employment law or have any questions about this case please do not hesitate to contact Debbie Sadler on 0118 955 9607 or at d.sadler@hewetts.co.uk.   

Published on 07/10/2016

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