Marriage and civil partnership
Marriage and civil partnership

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Protected characteristics
  • Definition of marriage and civil partnership
  • No direct discrimination claim if person not married or a civil partner
  • No indirect discrimination claim if person not married or a civil partner
  • Relationship with other protected characteristics

Protected characteristics

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against discrimination which relates to certain listed characteristics which people may possess. Some protections relate specifically to only one of those characteristics. Others provide the same protection in relation to all the characteristics, which are collectively referred to as 'the protected characteristics'.

Each protected characteristic is listed and (with the exception of pregnancy and maternity) defined in the Act:

  1. age—see Age for further information

  2. disability—see Disability for further information

  3. gender reassignment—see Gender reassignment for further information

  4. marriage and civil partnership—see the remainder of this practice note, below, for further information

  5. pregnancy and maternity

  6. race—see Race for further information

  7. religion or belief—see Religion or belief for further information

  8. sex—see Sex for further information

  9. sexual orientation—see Sexual orientation for further information

Definition of marriage and civil partnership

A person has the protected characteristic:

  1. of marriage if the person is married (which includes a person who is married to a person of the same sex)

  2. of civil partnership if the person is a civil partner

In relation to the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership:

  1. any reference in the Equality Act 2010 to a person who 'has a particular protected characteristic' means a person who is married or is a civil partner

  2. any reference in the Equality Act 2010 to 'persons who share a protected characteristic' means persons who are married or are

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