Civil partnerships and marriage
Gay and Lesbian couples are able to register their civil partnerships which give them many of the same rights as a married couple. The Equality Act 2010 protects employees who are in a civil partnership, or marriage, against any form of discrimination.
- Same sex couples who register as civil partners have the same rights as married couples in respect of employment rights
- The Equality Act protects employees who are in a civil partnership, or marriage against discrimination
- From March 2014 same sex couples can marry in a civil ceremony or religious ceremony where the religious organisation allows it (England and Wales)
- The Equality Act also gives protection from discrimination because of an employees sexual orientation
- Recruitment and selection policies must not discriminate on the grounds of civil partnerships, marriage or sexual orientation
Direct discrimination this can occurs when someone is treated differently than another person because they are in a civil partnership. Indirect discrimination can occur where the effect of a rule, policy or a practice in a company could disadvantage people who are in a civil partnership. Indirect discrimination can be justified only if the practice is necessary for the way the business works, the employer can show they have looked at less discriminatory alternatives, and there is no other way of achieving it.
Same sex marriage
From 29 March 2014 in England and Wales same sex couples can marry in civil ceremonies or religious ones where the religious organisation will allows it.
Civil partners who wish to convert their civil partnership into marriage will be able to do so from 10 December 2014, subject to Parliamentary approval.
The changes in legislation will also enable individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage.
Same-sex couples who register as civil partners have the right to equal treatment with married couples in a wide range of matters including employment and vocational training. Whatever benefits married employees and their spouses are given must be provided to employees who are in civil partnerships and to their civil partners. This includes survivor pensions, flexible working, statutory paternity pay, paternity and adoption leave, health insurance or time off before or after marriage.
The Equality Act also gives protection from discrimination because of sexual orientation. This includes orientation towards someone of the same sex (lesbian or gay men), opposite sex (heterosexual) or both sexes (bisexual). The law means that an company that is in the process of recruitment and selection procedures, as well as employment policies must not discriminate because of sexual orientation.