Tribunal Enters Fourth Year of Operations

The Gender Equality Tribunal meets with the Honourable Minister and Acting Chief Officer for Education, Employment and Gender Affairs (L-R: back row – Secretary to the Tribunal Aubrey Bodden, Member Nick Dunne, Member Karie Bergstrom, Member Tammy Ebanks, Member Vaughan Carter; front row – Acting Chief Officer Christen Suckoo, Minister Tara Rivers, JP, Chairperson Sheridan Brooks-Hurst)

On 31st January 2015, the Gender Equality Tribunal will have completed its third year of operations as a result of the implementation of the Gender Equality Law, which came into force in 2012 to help redress gender discrimination, particularly in the area of employment.  The five-person Tribunal is made up of members with specialised knowledge and experience in human resources, labour, gender and human rights. As required by the Gender Equality Law, the Chairperson of this independent, quasi-judicial body is also an attorney-at-law.

Commenting on the membership, the Honourable Tara Rivers, Minister for Education, Employment and Gender Affairs stated: “I am pleased that Chairperson Sheridan Brooks-Hurst and members Karie Bergstrom and Tammy Ebanks accepted re-appointment to the Tribunal and that Vaughan Carter and Nick Dunne are serving as new members. Their expertise and commitment to serve are essential to the effective administration of the Gender Equality Law. On behalf of the Government, I would like to thank all members, including immediate past members André Ebanks and Shaun Cockle, for their dedication.”

The Gender Equality Law prohibits discrimination in employment, training and recruitment on the basis of sex, marital status, pregnancy and gender. It also prohibits unequal treatment in other related areas such as access to goods, services and facilities, professional partnerships, qualifying and vocational training bodies and employment agencies, as well, it addresses issues of pay discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Tribunal considers allegations of prohibited conduct and has the powers necessary to effectively determine discrimination complaints and make orders as required. In addition to developing a number of important resources relevant to its operations, members have identified potential amendments to the Gender Equality Law that would provide further clarity on the hearing and determination of complaints and presented relevant recommendations to the Minister that are currently under consideration.

Chairperson Sheridan Brooks-Hurst stated: “The Tribunal recognises that there may be some barriers, both real and perceived, to accessing the Tribunal. As this new year begins, we encourage members of the general public, as well as employers, to learn about their rights and responsibilities and how a discrimination complaint can be made to the Tribunal, which is established to be accessible and independent in its activities.”

The Tribunal receives secretarial support from the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, which also conducts a variety of training and awareness sessions on the Gender Equality Law and other matters for companies and organisations as part of its public education efforts. To request a presentation please contact genderequality@gov.ky.

More information about the Gender Equality Law and Tribunal, including the Tribunal’s Annual Reports, can be found online at www.genderequality.gov.ky. Tribunal inquiries can also be directed to Secretary to the Gender Equality Tribunal, Aubrey Bodden by email at get@gov.ky, by phone at 244-3226, or in person by setting up an appointment at the Government Administration Building.