An employer must not treat individuals unfavourably because they are married or in a civil partnership. Employees (or job applicants and prospective employees) must not be treated differently, unfairly or less favourably because of their sex or sexual orientation. The law provides protection from:
- Direct discrimination (being treated less favourably).
- Indirect discrimination (being at a disadvantage because of a seemingly neutral provision, criterion or practice (PCP)).
- Victimisation (being subjected to a detriment because of a complaint about discrimination or helping a victim of discrimination i.e. being a witness for them or a ‘companion’ at meetings).
- Harassment (being subjected to unwanted conduct related to their marriage or civil partnership, which violates dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment).
This issue may be more pronounced in small family run businesses, or where a relationship develops in the workplace. It may be that an employee is seen in a negative light because of the actions of their spouse or civil partner. For more information on the forms of discrimination, please visit our Inclusion and Diversity section.