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GUYANA

Prevention of Discrimination Act

Act No. 26 of 1997


PART I - PRELIMINARY

PART II - PROTECTION AGAINST UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION

PART III - PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT

PART IV - PROMOTION OF EQUAL REMUNERATION

PART V - PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION BY OTHER BODIES

PART VI - PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN OTHER AREAS

PART VII - GENERAL EXCEPTIONS

PART VIII - OFFENCES RELATING TO DISCRIMINATION

PART IX - BURDEN OF PROOF

PART X - PENALTIES AND REMEDIES

PART XI - MISCELLANEOUS

AN ACT to provide for the elimination of discrimination in employment training, recruitment and membership of professional bodies and the promotion of equal remuneration to men and women in employment who perform work of equal value, and for matters connected therewith.

Enacted by the Parliament of Guyana:-

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. This Act may be cited as the Prevention of Discrimination Act 1997.

2. In this Act -

3. The provisions or this Act shall apply to employers and employees in the public and private sectors who are engaged in an employment relationship.

PART II

PROTECTION AGAINST UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION

4. (1) For the purposes of this Act, a person discriminates against another person if the first mentioned person makes, on any of the grounds mentioned in subsection (2), any distinction exclusion or preference the intent or effect of which is to nullify or impair equality of opportunity or treatment in any employment or occupation.

(2) The grounds referred to in subsection (1) are -

(3) Any act or omission or any practice or policy that directly or indirectly results in discrimination against a person on the grounds referred to in subsection (2), is an act of discrimination regardless of whether the person responsible for the act or omission or the practice or policy intended to discriminate.

PART III

PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT

5. (1) It shall be unlawful for any person who is an employer or any person who is acting or purporting to act on behalf of a person who is an employer, in relation to recruitment, selection or employment of any other person for purposes of training, apprenticeship or employment, to discriminate against that other person on the grounds listed in section 4 (2) -

(2) It shall be unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the grounds listed in section 4 (2) -

6. (1) Nothing in section 5 shall apply to any distinction, exclusion, or preference based on the grounds listed in section 4 (2) where a genuine occupational qualification exists.

(2) For the purposes of this Act a genuine occupational qualification for a job exists where -

7. Special measures taken by employers of a temporary nature to promote equality of opportunity in employment based on the grounds set out in section 4 (2) shall not be deemed to be unlawful discrimination within the meaning of section 5 of this Act.

8. Any Act of sexual harassment against an employee committed by an employer, managerial employee or a worker shall constitute unlawful discrimination based on sex within the meaning of section 4 of this Act.

PART IV

PROMOTION OF EQUAL REMUNERATION

9. (1) Every employer and every person acting on behalf of such employer shall be obligated to pay equal remuneration to men and women performing work of equal value for such employer.

(2) In this section -

(3) The burden of proof to establish that equal remuneration has been paid shall rest on the employer.

PART V

PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION BY OTHER BODIES

10. (1) Where employment in a particular profession is largely provided through partnership firms, it is unlawful for such firms of professionals consisting of six or more partners or for six or more persons proposing to form themselves into such a partnership firm, to discriminate against any person on the grounds set out in section 4 (2) -

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply if the treatment afforded to the partner or potential partner is based on a genuine occupational qualification.

11. (1) It shall be unlawful for a trade union, an organization of employers, other organization of employees or other organization whose members carry on a particular profession or trade for the purpose of which the organization exists to discriminate against any person on the grounds set out in section 4 (2) -

12. (1) It shall be unlawful for an educational authority or body that is to confer, renew, extend or withdraw an authorization or qualification that is needed for or facilitates the practice of a profession, the carrying on of a trade or the engaging in an occupation, to discriminate against a person on the grounds set out under section 4 (2) -

(2) In this section, "authorization or qualification" includes recognition, registration, enrolment, approval and certification.

13. (1) It shall be unlawful for any association which comprises employers and has as its principal objectives, or one of its principal objectives, the affording of their employees access to training facilities, or for any other person or educational authority recognised as providing facilities for training for employment, to discriminate -

(2) It shall not be unlawful under subsection (1) to give preference to nationals above non-nationals.

14.(1) It shall be unlawful for an employment agency to discriminate against a person on the grounds set out in section 4(2) -

(2) This section shall not apply if the discrimination concerns employment which the employer could lawfully refuse to offer that person.

(3) An employment agency shall not be liable under this section if it proves -

(4) Any person who knowingly or recklessly makes a statement referred to in subsection (3) (a) which is false or misleading in a material respect commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of forty-five thousand dollars.

PART VI

PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN OTHER AREAS

15. It shall be unlawful for a person who, whether for payment or not, provides goods and services or makes facilities available to discriminate against a person on the grounds set out in section 4 (2) -

16. Where a requirement or condition which is not apparently in contravention of any provision in this Act, has the effect of giving preference to a person on the grounds set out in section 4 (2) in a situation where such preference would be unlawful under this Act, the imposition of that condition or requirement shall be unlawful unless the person imposing it establishes good reason for its imposition and shows that its imposition is not a subterfuge to avoid complying with this Act.

17. (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to publish or display or to cause to allow to be published or displayed, any advertisement or notice which indicates or could reasonably be understood as indicating an intention to commit a breach of any provision under this Act.

(2) The publisher of an advertisement made unlawful by subsection (1) shall not be subject to any liability under that subsection if the publisher proves -

(3) A person who knowingly or recklessly makes a statement referred to in subsection (2) which is false or mislending in a material particular commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars.

18. Where by virtue of any provision of Part II or III, it would to unlawful, in particular circumstances, for a person to discriminate against another person on the grounds set out in section 4 (2), it shall be unlawful for that person to request or require that other person to provide information (whether by way of completing a form or otherwise) that would not, in the same or substantially similar circumstances be required or requested of the person of the opposite sex, or of a different race, religion, colour, political opinion, ethnic origin, indigenous population, social origin, pregnant state or marital status or with different family responsibilities.

PART VII

GENERAL EXCEPTIONS

19. (1) Nothing in Parts III and IV shall affect -

20. Nothing in this Act shall affect -

PART VIII

OFFENCES RELATING TO DISCRIMINATI0N

21. (1) It shall be unlawful to induce or attempt to induce, a person to do any act which contravenes Part III or IV by -

(2) An offer or threat is not prevented from falling within subsection(1), because it is not made directly to the person in question, if it is made in such a way that the person is likely to hear it or hear of it.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars.

22. (1) A person who commits an act of victimisation against another person shall be guilty of on offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a person shall be taken to commit an act of victimisation against another person if the first-mentioned person subjects or threatens to subject the other person to any detriment -

PART IX

BURDEN OF PROOF

23. Except where otherwise provided in this Act, the person alleging a violation of this Act shall bear the burden of presenting a prima facie case of discrimination or of an offence related to discrimination under this Act, whereupon the burden of proof shall shift to the respondent to disprove the allegations.

24. Where by any provision of this Act, conduct is excepted from conduct that is unlawful under this Act or that is a contravention of this Act, the onus of proving the exception lies upon the party claiming the exception.

PART X

PENALTIES AND REMEDIES

29. Any person who contravenes the provisions of this Act shall, unless a penalty is otherwise specifically provided, be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dollars.

26. Without prejudice to any other remedy that may be available in any court, any person who is aggrieved by any act or omission of an employer in contravention of the provisions of Part II or III, shall be entitled to apply to the court convicting such employer for any such contravention, for any of the following remedies -

PART XI

MISCELLANEOUS

27. The Minister may make regulations for giving effect to the purposes or this Act and for the better carrying out or the provisions or this Act.

28. This Act shall not derogate from the provisions of the Equal Rights Act 1990 or any other law.

29. The Chief Labour Officer may institute or cause to be instituted any prosecution for the purpose or enforcing any of the provisions of this Act and any officer of the Department of Labour may appear as prosecutor for and on behalf of the Chief Labour Officer.

30. All complaints under this Act may be heard and determinated and all offences, penalties or other remedies may be prosecuted and enforced in the manner provided by the Summary Jurisdiction Acts:

Provided that any order for the payment or recovery of damages or other compensation shall be enforced in the same manner as an order for the payment of compensation under the Summary Jurisdiction (Procedure) Act.

Passed by the National Assembly on 13th October, 1997.



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