Bermuda: scope of civil rights expanded by recent amendment

By John Patton

Bermuda’s parliament approved a number of changes to the Human Rights Act 1981 in August, the most notable being the addition of sexual orientation to the list of defined characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination.

The act chiefly restricts or proscribes prejudicial discrimination in relation to disposal of property, public advertisements or notices, contracts for employment, applications for tenancy, services and goods.

Prior to the change, for example, a café owner could not lawfully refuse service to a customer because of that person’s ethnic origin, religion or family background but could refuse service to a customer because of that person’s sexual orientation. The amendment now constrains such discrimination…

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