Marriage and civil partnership discrimination takes place when someone is discriminated against or victimised on the basis of their marriage or civil partnership. A marriage or civil partnership includes homosexual and heterosexual couples who are married or engaged to be married but does not include those who are in long-term relationships but not yet engaged.
There are three types of marriage and civil partnership discrimination:
Direct discrimination: This is less favourable treatment because someone is married on in a civil partnership. For example, a warehouse worker is dismissed when she gets married as her employer thinks she shouldn’t work night shifts.
Indirect discrimination: This can occur when an employer applies a policy, practice or procedure to all workers which particularly disadvantages a group of workers who are married or in a civil partnership.
Victimisation: Victimisation occurs when someone is subjected to a detriment because they have made a complaint or raised a grievance about discrimination (or they intend to) or because they are assisting someone else who has complained about discrimination for example by giving evidence in proceedings (or they intend to). Examples of victimisation include dismissing, passing over for promotion or not giving a bonus to an employee because that employee has submitted a complaint about discrimination.
Compensation for discrimination is uncapped, meaning the Tribunal can award a substantial amount. The compensation can take into account financial losses and ‘injury to feelings’, intended to compensate the victim for the stress and anxiety suffered as a result of the employer's unlawful acts of discrimination. The amount of an award may be increased if the employer has acted in a particularly malicious manner.
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