Fife Centre for Equalities

Building a collective voice to champion equality, diversity, inclusion and social justice.

Marriage and 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 between partners of the same sex.

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.
What is marriage and civil partnership discrimination?

This is when you are treated differently at work because you are married or in a civil partnership

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) states that a person has the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil Partnership if they are married or in a civil partnership.

Under the Act people who are married or in a civil partnership share the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil partnership.

Only people who are married or in a civil partnership have the protected characteristic
People who are unmarried or single do not have the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil Partnership.

Examples: A person who is engaged to be married is not married and therefore does not have this protected characteristic.

People who intend to marry or form a civil partnership, or who have divorced or had their civil partnership dissolved would also not have the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil Partnership

Example: A divorcees or a person whose civil partnership has been dissolved is not married or in a civil partnership and therefore does not have this protected characteristic.

‘Marriage’ covers the formal union of a man and woman which is legally recognised in the UK

‘Civil Partnership’ covers registered civil partnerships under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and also includes civil partnerships registered outside the UK

Example: An employer offers ‘death in service’ benefits to the spouses and civil partners of their staff members. A worker who lives with her partner, but is not married to him, wants to nominate him for death in service benefits. She is told she cannot do this as she is not married. Because being a cohabitee is not a protected characteristic, she would be unable to make a claim of discrimination. (Equality and Human Rights, Code of Practice)

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) states that a person has the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil Partnership if they are married or in a civil partnership.

Under the Act people who are married or in a civil partnership share the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil partnership.

Only people who are married or in a civil partnership have the protected characteristic
People who are unmarried or single do not have the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil Partnership.

Examples: A person who is engaged to be married is not married and therefore does not have this protected characteristic.

People who intend to marry or form a civil partnership, or who have divorced or had their civil partnership dissolved would also not have the protected characteristic of Marriage and Civil Partnership

Example: A divorcees or a person whose civil partnership has been dissolved is not married or in a civil partnership and therefore does not have this protected characteristic.

‘Marriage’ covers the formal union of a man and woman which is legally recognised in the UK

‘Civil Partnership’ covers registered civil partnerships under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and also includes civil partnerships registered outside the UK

Example: An employer offers ‘death in service’ benefits to the spouses and civil partners of their staff members. A worker who lives with her partner, but is not married to him, wants to nominate him for death in service benefits. She is told she cannot do this as she is not married. Because being a cohabitee is not a protected characteristic, she would be unable to make a claim of discrimination. (Equality and Human Rights, Code of Practice)