Discrimination in marriage and “civil partnership”

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Written By AndrewPerry

Founded in 2015 by a group of passionate legal professionals and enthusiasts, FlowingLaw started as a small blog. Today, it's a thriving community where ideas, expertise, and legal advice flow freely.





According to the Equality Act 2010, an employer cannot discriminate against you because of your marital status or civil partnership.

It is illegal to discriminate against someone who is not in compliance with the Equality Act. You may be able do something if you have been discriminated against.

This page explains more about discrimination in marriage and civil partnerships.

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What does it mean to be married and a civil partnership?

You must determine if you are exempt from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 before you can file a discrimination cancer cases.

According to the Equality Act, discrimination is only illegal if it’s based on certain reasons. These are known as protected characteristics. The Equality Act protects marriage and civil partnerships.

If you are:

  • Legally married
  • In a civil partnerships.
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  • Legally married means that your union is recognized as a marriage under UK law.
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A civil partnership is a registered civil partnerships as per the Civil Partnerships Act 2004. This includes civil partnerships that are not registered in the UK.

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What are the grounds for a complaint about discrimination in marriage or civil partnership?

Only complaints about discrimination in marriage or civil partnerships at work are allowed. It’s illegal discrimination under the Equality Act to treat you unfairly because you are married or in a civil relationship outside of the workplace.

Are you covered if you are engaged Civil Partnership or separated?

Only those who are married or are in a religion or belief civil partnerships are protected from discrimination on grounds of marriage or civil partnership.

If you are:

  • Single
  • Engaged to be married
  • Divorced or civil business partnerships has been dissolution
  • Living together as a couple
  • widowed

Someone may think you are married or in a civil relationship even though you are not.

You are still protected even if you divorce, because your civil or marital partnership hasn’t been legally dissolution.

  • Additional useful information
  • Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS).
  • The EASS Discrimination Helpline can help you if you’ve been discriminated against.

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