No prejudice

New law to halt all forms of discrimination in the workplace

The legal fight against prejudice in Barbados will begin in the workplace with a new law that will allow punishment for all types of discrimination, including singling out homosexuals on the job.

Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer made the revelation yesterday evening as she said new legislation is in the works to halt all forms of discrimination at places of employment, as a starting point for eradicating prejudice in society.

Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer
Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer

She made special mention of sexual orientation.“I am not sanctioning same sex unions and homosexuality. That is not what this legislation is supposed to do. What this legislation is saying is that if somebody in your workplace is homosexual we should not be discriminating against them on the grounds that they are homosexual,” Byer told a Christ is the Answer Family Church discussion at the Alexandra School.

“It is also gender neutral . . . It is the same for men as it is for women, so whether it is a man discriminating against a woman or a woman discriminating a man, it will hold.”Byer said the Anti-Discrimination in the Workplace Act will be the frontrunner for a raft of new legislation on labour and labour relations that Government plans taking to Parliament.

“We are just tidying it up. I hope we are on the last draft,” she said.

Some of the other proposed new pieces of legislation, which will call for repeal of the current laws, include a Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act, a Shops Act, a Minimum Wages Board Act, and a Holidays with Pay Act.

“There is a lot that we want to see happen in our society when it comes to discrimination . . . It is going to take, I believe, another 10 years before we get broad-based anti-discrimination legislation but what my ministry decided to do is to introduce the legislation in the workplace,” she said.

“We [have to] start to change the thinking, the mindset of individuals . . .  because if we have to wait until we can pass general legislation to get anti-discrimination legislation in the workplace, it’s going to be a very long time coming.”

Byer said that the labour unions and employers had some input in the pending Anti-Discrimination in the Workplace Act.

4 Responses to No prejudice

  1. Fraser Young
    Fraser Young February 13, 2015 at 8:35 am

    My Asian girlfriend left because bajans were so ignorantly racist towards her on a daily basis. That will probably cause me to leave, my business to leave and my $$$ to leave Barbados.

  2. Walter Prescod February 13, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Fraser Young, you should read what you write before posting it,
    how dare you paint all bajans with the same brush, this is unfair.
    ”Ignorant racist towards her”! read what you wrote. try treating [people] the way
    you want to be treated this helps. one love!

  3. Ann Edghill
    Ann Edghill February 13, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    That is a real shame, and I’m sorry she was given such a hard time. Barbados’ loss. Ignorance is very damaging, to us all

  4. Ramar Haynes
    Ramar Haynes February 13, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    This is a very tedious matter. The minister is saying she is not saying homosexuality is right, it is my belief that this is an effort to avoid conflict with the various religious bodies in Barbados. If you are going to stop discrimination against homosexuals, atleast have the decency to give your true opinion on the matter. Beating around the bush is what this Government does.


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