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Your email address will not be published.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
05 Oct 2018

Taking action on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace

                      October 10th, 2018 marks World Mental Health Day, providing another opportunity for all of us to tackle the stigma around mental health at work; opening the discussion around what more can be done to make mental health and wellbeing a higher priority for employers[…..]

Latest Posts
24 Sep 2018

New research shows that 40% of employers believe office perks reduce employee stress

Wellbeing in the workplace is regularly making the news headlines. More and more smart employers recruiting for jobs in Basingstoke are asking us how they can create a healthier office space that will attract top talent to their business – and help retain valued employees. More than just a pay check In our previous blog[…..]

Latest Posts
24 Sep 2018

Want to know the secret to retaining staff?

So, you’ve found the ideal people to work for your company, provided ongoing training, awarded pay increases and bonuses, improved your benefits…yet still they keep moving on. Sound all too familiar? You’re not alone. With unemployment is at a record low, many employers across the UK are trying harder than ever to hold on to[…..]

Latest Posts
29 Aug 2018

You never know where a temp job might take your career

Sixteen years ago, I was doing a temping job as a receptionist when the owner of the agency approached me to see if I fancied a go at recruitment. Always open to opportunity, I said yes.  Here we are 16 years later and I’m the Operations Director at Wote Street People.  Now, I could tell[…..]

Latest Posts
25 Jul 2018

Educate employers about benefits of older workers

The latest report from the Government’s Women and Equalities Committee says older workers still face discrimination and the recruitment industry’s ‘failure to take more robust action has a significant impact on (their) ability to access work’. Maxine Hart, our Operations Director, has something to say. Valuing best practice The report is pretty damning stuff. But[…..]