Editor's message: The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination in the workplace because of an employee's marriage or civil partnership status.
The protection applies only to those who are married or in a civil partnership. It does not protect single people, nor those who are divorced or whose civil partnership has been dissolved.
While fewer claims on this ground are brought compared with the other protected characteristics, employers should ensure that terms and conditions, including contractual benefits, do not disadvantage workers because they are married or in a civil partnership.
Employers should also take care that they do not exclude workers from job opportunities or training based on assumptions that, because they are married or a civil partner, they would be less willing to travel or to work longer hours than a single person.
Fiona Cuming, employment law editor
Updated to include information on Forbes v LHR Airport Ltd, in which the EAT considered if posting an offensive image on Facebook was done "in the course of employment".
The law on discrimination in recruitment and selection, including the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on recruitment, direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, the duty to make reasonable adjustments, positive action, occupational requirements, monitoring and keeping records.
The Supreme Court has overturned the Court of Appeal's decision and held that civil partners and same-sex spouses are entitled to pension benefits accrued before the introduction of civil partnerships on 5 December 2005.
We round up three recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments about discrimination. The ECJ has recently considered: temporary incapacity caused by a workplace accident in Barcelona; the recruitment age limit for Basque police officers; and survivors' pensions for same-sex partners in Ireland.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that the Equality Act 2010 does not breach EU law by denying a couple in a civil partnership accrual of benefits to which married couples were entitled under a pension scheme.
The employment tribunal held that the Equality Act 2010 failed to provide the required protection under EU law for a couple in a civil partnership who were denied accrual of benefits to which married couples were entitled under a pension scheme.
In Hawkins v Atex Group Ltd and others EAT/0302/11, the EAT held that the dismissal of an employee because she was in a close personal relationship with a particular person, which happened to take the form of marriage, did not amount to unlawful marriage discrimination.
In Dunn v Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management EAT/0531/10, the EAT held that less favourable treatment accorded to an employee on the ground that she was married to a particular person, rather than because of her marital status per se, amounted to unlawful discrimination on the ground of marriage.
Georgina Kyriacou and David Malamatenios are partners and Sandra Martins, Colin Makin and Krishna Santra are associates at Colman Coyle Solicitors. They round up the latest rulings.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that discrimination on the ground of "marital status" under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 can cover less favourable treatment because the individual is married to a particular person.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to marriage and civil partnership discrimination.