Today the OBA tabled an Equality Bill in Parliament, which will strengthen Bermuda’s Human Rights laws and promote equality.
The cornerstone of the OBA Bill inserts a ‘presumption of equality’ into Bermuda’s existing laws. Existing laws concerning race, sex, or other grounds protected by the Human Rights Act will be interpreted by the Courts, wherever possible, to achieve the promotion of equality.
In addition, the OBA Bill will see the creation of a new Equality Council at the Human Rights Commission. The Council will promote equality, opportunity, and equal pay in the workforce, including equal opportunities in training and advancement, to attain managerial and influential positions.
The Bill enables employment tribunals to determine workplace discrimination claims, and expands the remedies for discrimination, including new civil penalties which will fund the Equality Council.
It also promotes equality of gender and racial representation on Government Boards and Committees.
The OBA’s Shadow Attorney-General, Scott Pearman, who tabled the Bill said:
“This OBA Equality Bill will enhance our Island’s Human Rights laws, and help to promote equality for all Bermudians, particularly in the workplace and on Government Boards and Committees.
The OBA Bill strengthens Human Rights laws in numerous ways. It enshrines a new ‘presumption of equality’ in our existing law. It also creates a new Equality Council, to advocate for workplace equality and, importantly, focus on training and advancement in the workforce.
Opposition Leader Cole Simons added: “We in the OBA believe that Human Rights lies at the core of our society today. We believe in equal opportunity for everyone.
“One of the strengths of our community is our differences.
“Our community must continue to come together, to strive to become One Bermuda. To do this we must eliminate barriers of inequality.
“We believe our legislation will help to ensure that all levels of society are open to everyone and that all people a treated equally and have equality of opportunity.”