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DEI HUB: Marriage & Civil Partnership



The Equality Act says you must not be discriminated against in employment because you are married or in a civil partnership.

In the Equality Act marriage and civil partnership means someone who is legally married or in a civil partnership. Marriage can either be between a man and a woman, or between partners of the same sex. Civil partnership is also for couples of all genders.

People do not have this characteristic if they are:

  • single
  • living with someone as a couple neither married nor civil partners
  • engaged to be married but not married
  • divorced or a person whose civil partnership has been dissolved

Equality and Human Rights Commission

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Marriage and civil partnership discrimination


Marriage and civil partnership is a "protected characteristic" under the Equality Act 2010 and, under the Act, means being married or being a civil partner. As well as being liable for its own actions, there are circumstances in which an employer will be liable for the acts of others.

Read it here

Marriage and Civil Partnership Discrimination


Direct marriage and civil partnership discrimination occurs where because of your marriage and civil partnership, you are treated less favourably than a person who is not married or a civil partner.

Less favourable treatment means a detriment of a kind that a reasonable person would or might take the view that in all the circumstances you have been disadvantaged.  An unjustified sense of grievance cannot amount to a detriment.  It is not necessary to demonstrate some physical or economic consequence.

Read it here

case study
For better or for worse - marriage and civil partnership discrimination


In the recent case of Gould v. St John’s Downshire Hill UKEAT/0002/20/BA, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that dismissing a minister because his marriage had broken down could amount to marriage discrimination.

Read it here