Jersey: Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013

Last Updated: 10 September 2015
Article by Michael Little and Daniel Read

Under the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 (the Law), "race" has been a protected characteristic since September 2014. As of 1 September 2015 it will also be unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of:

  1. Sex
  2. Sexual orientation
  3. Gender reassignment
  4. Pregnancy and maternity.

This means that, as of 1 September 2015 you cannot directly or indirectly discriminate, harass or victimise any person on any of the above grounds.

The risk of discrimination extends to all areas of employment, from the recruitment and selection processes, treatment of employees whilst in employment (i.e. promotion) and the grounds and circumstances in which employees are dismissed (in particular during a redundancy exercise).

The concept of statutory discrimination is relatively new to Jersey, and how the Law will be interpreted and applied is relatively uncertain (with only single figure claims to date since race discrimination was introduced). As the types of protected characteristics expand we expect the number of claims to increase. As similar provisions have been in existence in the UK for many decades, at least during the early stages, the Jersey Employment and Discrimination Tribunal is likely to draw on practice from the UK.

People with experience from other jurisdictions will probably understand the issues that might arise. For the remainder, as discrimination law is being encountered for the first time, the employment world will now be quite different. The Employment Tribunal will no longer predominantly be the domain of those that have been dismissed; it will also accommodate employees bringing claims against their existing employees with whom they will and want to be employed in the future but, treated fairly and not discriminated against. Therefore whilst issues will certainly arise, it also about reasonableness, understanding boundaries and having zero tolerance to discrimination issues. In other words train employees, train managers follow policy and process and manage effectively.

What is unclear is whether the discrimination law will work in practice as a deterrent, but we anticipate an increase of cases even though the maximum compensation claim of £10,000 is relatively low. In the UK there is no cap and successful discrimination claims can lead to very high compensation awards. However, there is the ability in the future for the States of Jersey to increase the maximum level of compensation, which we think would have a more profound impact on employer's behaviour.

There is also the consideration as to what are the risks for the employee in bringing a claim. The compensation is low, you remain with the same employer and the realities of the work place could make life difficult in the future. The Law seeks to protect this by making victimisation unlawful but a recent case in the UK emphasises how difficult it can be to even raise a complaint with an employer. A black firearms officer in the UK Police Force complained about her supervisors conduct towards her who then went on to racially and sexually discriminate against her as a result of her complaint. The claimant was successful, but after the claim stated that the torment and impact of bringing that claim had been so bad that they would now question whether it was worth bringing the claim. She no longer feels able to work for the police.

We are not suggesting that claims will not be brought simply because of the emotional impact, but it will be interesting to observe whether employees feel confident or brave enough to bring a claim, given the relatively small employment market and the limited rewards for a successful claim. It will also be interesting as to whether employers will take a robust and intolerant approach to discrimination if issues arise, and whether they will adapt their policies and procedures.

Office Banter

We consider the biggest exposure to employers and employees will be claims arising out of what may be considered as harmless workplace "banter". There is a risk that where such comments and acts stray into the territory of the protected characteristics that claims under the Law could be successfully presented.

When asked, most people would argue they know when banter strays into something worse. However difficult issues can arise, as the individual's perception may differ. For example is sending a valentine card unlawful? Are half naked calendars (of a man or woman) unlawful? Is calling a person 'coloured' or 'gay' or simply swearing unlawful? Because people believe they know the difference between banter and what the law now allows, this is where the problems will arise. In each of the above examples the line could be easily be crossed, deliberately or more realistically inadvertently.


Harassment takes place when one person engages in unwanted conduct towards another, that is related to a protected characteristic (sex, race etc) and which has the effect of:

  1. Violating the person's dignity; or
  2. Creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.

As of 1 September 2015, this will include unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that has the above effects.

The Tribunal will look to how the conduct was perceived by the individual, the circumstances of the case and whether a reasonable person could regard the conduct as having that effect.

Legal Consequences of Discrimination

In the majority of cases the Employer could be held liable for the discriminatory acts of its employees. The only defence to such claims under the Law is that an employer took such steps as were reasonably practicable to prevent the employee from doing the act, or acts of that description. It is no defence to for an employer to assert that the employee was acting without the employer's permission or in ignorance of the law.

While the Law offers no guidance as what would be considered reasonably practicable steps, we anticipate that the Tribunal would expect to see clear and up to date policies on discrimination, equal opportunities and dignity at work and providing relevant training and management of situations as they arise.

If the Tribunal upholds a claim of discrimination it may make an award for financial losses up to a maximum of £10,000 and/or an award for hurt and distress, not exceeding £5,000. The total combined award ordered by the Tribunal cannot exceed £10,000.

It is important to note that a claimant is expected to issue proceedings against his/her employer and the individual involved i.e. the manager of work colleague. If this occurs that manager or colleague could be liable personally for up to £5,000 (for the hurt and feelings they are found to have caused (even if not intended) and it may not always follow that the employer will indemnify that employee. It will all depend on the circumstances.

Where there is more than one respondent to a claim, the Tribunal has the power to apportion the award between the employer and employee as it sees fit. For an employer, even if the claim is successfully defended on the grounds they took all reasonable steps and liability falls on the employee in a personal capacity, the adverse publicity and reputational damage will already have occurred.

To help avoid breaching discrimination law, an employer should:

  • Amend (if required) employment handbooks, including policies on equal opportunities and harassment, setting out what constitutes acceptable behaviour and what does not.
  • Review employment contracts and any relevant policies to ensure they comply with the Law.
  • Provide training on equal opportunities and harassment. This may help managers to avoid inappropriate questions at interviews, or to recognise and deal with harassment at an early stage.
  • Set up clear procedures for staff to raise concerns and complaints, and for dealing with complaints. Ensure discriminatory behaviour by staff is not tolerated and is dealt with through proper disciplinary measures.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions