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Marriage and civil partnership discrimination

Updating author: Tina McKevitt


  • 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. (See Meaning of marriage and civil partnership)
  • As well as being liable for its own actions, there are circumstances in which an employer will be liable for the acts of others. (See Who is liable?)
  • The Equality Act 2010 prohibits direct discrimination, indirect discrimination and victimisation. (See Prohibited conduct)
  • Direct discrimination is where, because of the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership, a person treats another person less favourably than that person treats or would treat other persons. (See Direct discrimination)
  • Indirect discrimination occurs where a "provision, criterion or practice" puts persons who share the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership at a "particular disadvantage". Under the Equality Act 2010, it is possible for employers to justify indirect discrimination. (See Indirect discrimination and Justification)
  • Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, an employer may be vicariously liable for a course of conduct by one of its employees that amounts to harassment under the Act. (See Protection from Harassment Act 1997)
  • Victimisation occurs when a person is subjected to a detriment because they did a protected act. (See Victimisation)
  • There are some exceptions from unlawful marriage and civil partnership discrimination. (See Occupational requirements and Other exceptions)