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Your email address will not be published.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
13 May 2019

Nifty networking plus valuable volunteering = career cheer

As Enterprise Coordinator at Enterprise M3 LEP, Shirley Ducker helps schools and colleges improve their careers and enterprise activities to engage with the world of employment. But it’s through her own personal journey that she’s learned the most about the power of networking.  Shirley’s here as a guest blogger to share her experience with you…[…..]

Latest Posts
01 May 2019

Seeing beyond age discrimination myths

As we’re all living – and working – for longer, the age range in most workplaces is becoming broader. In some cases, there can be an age gap of 50 years or more between staff. All diversity enriches the work culture, but it can require some education to manage it effectively. ACAS recently published a[…..]

Latest Posts
05 Apr 2019

Tips for recruiting under 25-year olds

There are countless reasons why recruiting a person under the age of 25 could be beneficial to the success and growth of your business. As a job agency in Basingstoke, we’ve recently been reminded of the benefits of this yet again. Spring is a time for new beginnings and you’ll not only be opening a[…..]

Latest Posts
21 Mar 2019

Learning on the job: the benefits of apprenticeships to employer and employee

As a recruitment agency that’s also heavily involved in the community, we can’t stop talking about the many benefits of apprenticeships. These positions give young people and career-changers the opportunity to study for a work-based qualification that is often the first stepping stone in a bright career. Our apprentice, Kyra Wallace, recently completed her time[…..]

Latest Posts
08 Feb 2019

Candidates keep falling through? Don’t make your plan B a second thought

  In recruitment, as in life, things rarely work out as expected. The news reminds us daily that it’s actually wise to expect the unexpected. For example, you’ve got to wonder if there’s a teeny weeny bit of Theresa May’s brain that wishes she had pre-prepared a plan B for how Brexit is unfolding… We[…..]