Effective from September 1 2018, the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 will be amended to include disability as a protected characteristic. The amending regulations will give individuals the right to complain to the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal when they believe that they have experienced discrimination. While many employers and groups will be familiar with the way that the regulations work, they should be taking steps to ensure that they are compliant ahead of the implementation date.
Employers can enforce dress codes only within the confines of the discrimination law. For example, a requirement for a female receptionist to wear high heels is illegitimate since no equivalent requirement is placed on male employees. Employers that want to enforce a dress code should consider the discrimination law and whether their proposals meet it. A recent Jersey case illustrates how this works.
Lawyers are often asked to review employment contracts, including post-termination restrictions. It is increasingly common to see covenants that either restrict the former employee from holding any interest in a competing business or limit the amount of shareholding that they can have. If a contract uses this language, it could lead to the entire restrictive covenant being unenforceable.
A recent Jersey Employment and Discrimination Tribunal case has provided guidance on the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013. The case highlights some important points for businesses to remember, including that the £10,000 limit per complaint applies to each type of complaint (ie, direct discrimination, indirect discrimination or harassment).
Statutory provisions recently came into force which grant employees family-friendly rights – including maternity leave, paternity leave and the right to request flexible working – for the first time. These rights came into effect at the same time as sex discrimination legislation. If employers are flexible with regard to these rights, they can use them to manage their workforce effectively.
The States of Jersey has approved statutory family-friendly rights, including maternity leave, paternity leave and the right to request flexible working. In addition, it is now illegal to discriminate against a person on the grounds of race. Employers must update their policies and procedures accordingly.
Amendments to the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 creating rights on redundancy recently took effect. The new provisions mean that for the first time in Jersey there will be statutory redundancy payments for employees that are similar to those operating in the United Kingdom. This legislative change introduces a degree of complexity for employers which will require careful handling.
At some point a business may require restructuring and this may involve redundancies. There are many reasons for restructuring (eg, merger, technological change or loss of business). This update provides guidance on the planning and implementation of a restructure.