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Marriage and civil partnership

Marriage and civil partnership are one of the protected characteristics and it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees who fall into one or other of the categories. Single people are not protected. This protected characteristic can be the subject of direct and indirect discrimination and victimization.

The Act states that persons who are engaged to be married or are divorcees or persons whose civil partnership has been dissolved do not have the protected characteristic.

The Act does not define "marriage" or "civil partnership" and therefore the general law applies.

In the Marriage Act 1949 part of the definition of "marriage" is that for it to be legal it must be for "one man" and "one woman".

A "civil partnership" is a legal union between two people of the same sex which is registered under the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

The University will treat civil partners in the same way as married people in a wide range of matters, including employment and vocational training.

Any benefits given to married employees will also be offered to civil partners including:

  • Flexible working
  • Statutory paternity pay
  • Paternity and adoption leave
  • Health insurance
  • Survivor pensions

More details and relevant policies are available to view on the Human Resources intranet pages.


If you would like any further information on this or any other equality issue please contact the Equality and Diversity Team