Blog

You Are Here:

Families at Work: Discrimination on the Grounds of Marital Status

Posted on | Posted in Discrimination

In the recent case of Hawkins v Atex Group, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered the question of discrimination on the grounds of marital status. The Claimant was employed by a company, in which her husband was the Chief Executive, when a policy prohibiting the employment of close relatives was implemented. This led to both the Claimant and her daughter being dismissed. The EAT decided that, unless the ground for the less favourable treatment is specifically “that they are married”, rather than only that they are in a close relationship which happens to take the form of marriage, there is no discrimination because of marital status. LJ Underhill observed that “although marriage and a close personal relationship usually go together, they are conceptually separate and not inevitable corollaries of one another.” In short, the policy applied to close relationships and not solely to spouses. The Respondent was not motivated by the fact that the Claimant was married to her husband. Accordingly, the EAT found that the treatment was not because of marital status.

However, this was a departure from a recent case of Dunn v Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management. In that case, it was held that a detriment which arose from being married to a particular person, not just being married, could give rise to a marital status discrimination claim.

Trethowans’ view: 

 

The two EAT decisions appear to conflict on the subject of whether being married to a particular person is protected under the marital status umbrella. Until the issue is clarified by a higher court, employers should be wary of dismissing employees simply because they are married to colleagues.

 -Kindly provided by Trethowans

0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts
11 Nov 2020

Staying cyber-safe when working from home – Guest blog by Fiona Kent, Marketing Manager at InfoSec Partners

Many businesses had to quickly put measures in place to enable staff to work at home during the COVID-19 lockdown and for the majority, remote working is set to become the new normal for the foreseeable future. As such, the lines between work and home life have become increasingly blurred, more fluid, some may say,[…..]

Latest Posts
02 Nov 2020

Let’s celebrate Menopause – Guest blog by Clare Davis of Nova Associates

“I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life”. Maya Angelou. Why do people shy away from the topic of menopause with their loved ones?   Are you between the age of 45 and 55? Do you realise this is when menopause occurs for the majority of women, one in[…..]

Latest Posts
29 Oct 2020

Mind the gap? Not when it comes to CVs…

When sifting through CVs to recruit for jobs in Basingstoke, a significant gap in a candidate’s employment history might glare at you like a red light. Did they leave a job abruptly with no new role to go to? Why? Are they fickle? Lazy? Hard to get along with? Maybe they were sacked? These are[…..]

Latest Posts
30 Sep 2020

Latest Guidance: Should My Employees be Working from Home? – Guest blog by Lamb Brooks

Yesterday’s announcement from the Prime Minister saw a U-turn away from the government’s previous message of ‘getting office workers back into the workplace’ by announcing that those who can work from home, should return to doing so. For some workplaces, the decision had already been made that employees would continue to work remotely with no[…..]

Latest Posts
23 Sep 2020

What is Mental Health First Aid? – Guest Blog by Clare Davis, Director of Nova Associates

What do you think Mental Health first Aid is? When I tell people I am a Mental Health first Aid instructor, I often get asked, “Are you a counsellor” or “Are you a psychologist?” Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is not about fixing people. It is not about being a therapist. Regular (physical) First Aid[…..]